Blog
A Guide to the Egg Freezing Process at GENNET City Fertility
Article from medical experts from our clinic
2022-08-22

A Guide to the Egg Freezing Process at GENNET City Fertility

When considering options for forming a family in the future, you may be told about egg freezing. However, you may not know anything about the egg freezing process or how it works. To offer some reassurance and to ensure you go into any appointment feeling more secure about what to expect, we have created this guide on how the process works at our private fertility clinic in London.

Read on to find out more about the egg freezing process and what we can offer with our treatments, or get in touch with us to have any questions you may have answered as soon as possible.

How Do You Freeze Your Eggs?

There are two methods of egg freezing that can be offered - cryopreservation and vitrification:

Cryopreservation

In a cryopreservation freezing process (also sometimes referred to as “oocyte cryopreservation”), eggs are cooled slowly and stored at extremely low temperatures. You may also see or hear it referred to as the “slow cooling” method because of this.

Vitrification

In a vitrification freezing process, eggs will be frozen more quickly using a mix of a cryoprotectant solution and other highly concentrated solutions. They will then be stored in liquid nitrogen until you are ready to use them. This method is also known as “flash freezing” because of how quickly the process is done in comparison to cryopreservation.

Recent research has shown that success rates for vitrification are higher than those associated with cryopreservation. This is because the quick freezing involved in the process means the eggs are less likely to become damaged.

Thawing Eggs for Fertility Treatment

Once a patient is ready to use their eggs, the eggs must be thawed. This part of the process involves retrieving an individual frozen egg from the liquid nitrogen it is stored in. The egg is then placed in a prepared dish and processed using several drops of thaw materials. After this, the dish is moved to a heated surface to complete the warming process.

Freshly thawed eggs will be moved into a new dish to be washed in culture media, before being documented and transferred to an incubator. It will be kept there until the time comes for it to be fertilised and transferred into the patient’s womb.

How Long Does the Egg Freezing Process Take?

According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), most egg freezing processes will take 2 to 3 weeks to complete. The steps taken at this point are the same that a patient would take if they were choosing to undergo IVF right away. These steps include taking fertility medication to boost egg production and undergoing surgery to have mature eggs collected.

Under the new rules, it is now possible for all eggs to be frozen for up to 55 years.

GENNET City Fertility’s Egg Freezing Process: A Timeline

We always welcome visitors to our clinic with the same free, straightforward mini-consultation. This will last for around half an hour and gives you a chance to take a tour of our facilities, become familiar with the team members you will be working with, and spend some time in consultation with a discreet and understanding specialist discussing your hopes and options for fertility preservation.

Once this consultation has ended and you have decided that you would like our support through the next steps of your long-term fertility journey, the egg freezing process can begin in full. We’ve provided a step-by-step timeline of this below so that you can go into your first consultation feeling more confident and reassured about what will happen next. It will also help you to prepare any questions you may end up having in advance.

If you haven’t had any previous tests, assessments, or investigations carried out concerning your fertility before, we would suggest that you begin with a Female Fertility Assessment, or a cost-effective Couples’ Initial Consultation Package if you are taking this step in your journey with a partner. These assessments include specific physical examinations (such as semen analysis, uterine ultrasound scans, and AMH blood tests) and an Initial Consultation. 

Your results will be explained to you by one of our specialists, either over the phone or via email.

Step One: Making an Enquiry and Booking an Appointment

The very first step will be to inform our specialists of your interest in having your eggs frozen. If you have any results of previous tests or treatments, you will be advised to bring these with you for your first appointment.

Step Two: The Initial Consultation

When you come for your initial consultation, our fertility specialist will discuss your previous fertility and medical history. They will also review any previous investigations or treatments if you have had any before this step. 

The fertility specialist may also recommend treatment options for you, or request further investigations if they feel this is necessary.

Step Three: The Follow-Up and Nurse Consultation

You may require a follow-up appointment with our specialist, who will discuss your results with you and finalise the steps of your treatment plan. 

Before you begin your treatment cycle, you and your partner (if you are taking this journey with a partner) will need to attend a Nurse Consultation with an experienced fertility nurse. The nurse will:

  • Take you through the process step by step and ensure you understand the timeline
  • Discuss fertility drugs and medication and its application, if this is right for your circumstances, as well as explain potential side effects
  • Assist you with signing consent forms
  • Perform mandatory virology screenings (blood and urine tests)
  • Answer any questions you may have about the egg freezing and thawing process

At this time, you will also have the opportunity to meet with an embryologist to discuss our laboratory services and the benefits they may offer to your treatment.

Step Four: The Start of Treatment

You will be invited to attend our clinic for a series of monitoring ultrasound scans. This will usually be four scans, and each will last for around 30 minutes. You may also be asked to have some blood tests carried out during this step.

Our specialists will keep you updated with your progress and provide comprehensive instructions on the next step in the process when you attend the scans.

Step Five: Egg Collection

Approximately 14 days after your treatment has started, you will be given a date, time, and specific instructions on when to attend our fertility clinic. This will be your egg collection date.

The egg retrieval process will take place under mild sedation anaesthesia, and should take between 15 and 30 minutes.

Step Six: Egg Freezing

Our embryologists will assess the collected eggs and decide which ones will be suitable for freezing. They will then update you on the outcome.

Step Seven: The Wellbeing Scan

You will be invited to attend an ultrasound wellbeing scan during your next menstrual cycle.

Egg Freezing Success Rates

The HFEA states that, currently, patients using their frozen eggs in treatment have a success rate of around 18%. This goes up to 30% if they choose to use frozen donor eggs. Clinics have an ethical responsibility to inform patients (and to be clear in informing patients) that freezing eggs at a younger age offers a better chance of a successful pregnancy through later fertility treatment. Here, “younger age” refers to patients who are under the age of 35.

Patients who identify as cisgender female, or were female at birth, will be born with all the eggs they will ever have or need in their lifetime. This is their ovarian reserve, which will decrease as they age, experience their menstrual cycle, or have children. The quality of the eggs that remain will also decrease, meaning that it is less likely that these eggs will go on to produce viable embryos. This is why experts encourage those who may be thinking of a long-term fertility journey to consider freezing their eggs early.

 

Book a First Consultation with Us

If you have been considering freezing your eggs for any reason whatsoever, from delaying forming your family to concentrate on your career to prioritising medical treatment, GENNET City Fertility will be ready to assist. By contacting us and booking your first, free 30-minute mini consultation with a friendly, understanding specialist you will even get to see precisely what we do – before you decide if we’re the team you want to take your fertility journey with.

You will never be obligated to continue with us, and you will never be pressured into having treatments carried out that you do not want. Instead, we will work with you on forming a bespoke treatment plan that suits your needs and offers you the long-term solution to fertility preservation and the road to a future family that you have been looking for.

 

Article from medical experts from our clinic