A patient's cycle is closely monitored to determine the optimal time to start. Using special medications in doses customized to every specific patient, the medical team will stimulate the ovaries to produce the optimal number of eggs and encourage them to mature. Regular doctor's visits are required so that the progress of the egg development and maturation can be closely monitored. Once the eggs begin to mature, the doctor will begin to prepare for the final maturation process of the stimulation. When the eggs are mature, the doctor carefully extracts the eggs. Once the eggs have been removed, the necessary steps are taken to either freeze them or use them in an in-vitro fertilization procedure. The procedure to remove the eggs is done in an outpatient setting under monitored anesthesia care for maximal patient comfort and safety. The procedure often takes approximately 20 minutes, and the patient will be sedated throughout. After a short recovery, she will be able to go home and rest and will be able to resume normal daily activities in the following few days.
With today's advancements in technology, eggs can be stored for several years and remain viable. Sperm that has been frozen for over 30 years has been used and been successful. Nine years is the longest time an egg has been frozen and then used to produce a live birth. The existing technology has been in place for over ten years, and doctors believe that there is no reason eggs should react any different than sperm when undergoing the freezing process. Unlike the past, when eggs were frozen slowly, they are now flash frozen, which dramatically improves the success rate of most procedures.
With state-of-the-art advancements in technology, freezing eggs is much safer than ever before. Eggs are flash frozen immediately through a technique called vitrification after being harvested to keep them in the best possible condition. The egg retrieval procedure is usually performed under mild sedation and is safe.