Egg Freezing

Egg Freezing

Female Fertility Preservation

Egg freezing is one way of preserving a woman’s fertility so she can try to have a family in the future. It involves collecting a woman’s eggs, freezing them and then thawing them later on so they can be used in fertility treatment.

Some women freeze their eggs because they have a medical condition or are undergoing treatment that affects their fertility. It can also be used by women who aren’t ready or able to have children and want the chance of conceiving in the future.

A woman’s chances of conceiving naturally fall as she gets older because the quality and number of her eggs drops. Egg freezing is an attempt at preserving fertility by freezing the eggs when the woman is young and the eggs are of the highest quality.

Egg freezing using vitrification (also called Oocyte Vitrification) is offered to women who are at risk of compromising fertility often because of advancing maternal age, a family history of premature ovarian failure or before the start of some cancer treatments. Egg vitrification can be used by women who want to delay having their family for social reasons or because they don’t currently have partner and are concerned about decreasing fertility with increasing age. 

We use the very latest vitrification technique for cryopreservation of oocytes, a process which uses a much faster cooling rate to ensure optimal egg survival. The oocytes are stored for later use in a secure monitored liquid nitrogen tank. Oocytes can be kept cryopreserved for 10 years in the first instance and up to 55 years in total in certain circumstances.

During a woman’s lifetime, approximately 1-2 million eggs develop in her ovaries, many of these disappear before puberty. A woman of childbearing age has from 200,000 to 400,000 eggs, and approximately 400 of them will mature and have the potential to fertilise. As a woman’s age increases, the quality of her eggs decrease.

If a woman of childbearing potential is not planning to have a child at the moment, vitrification of the eggs may provide a better chance of getting pregnant later in life. 

We recommend egg freezing (vitrification) in the following cases:

  • Before the initiation of cancer treatment: chemotherapy may result in damage to the eggs
  • Other health-related reasons: e.g., when ovaries must be removed
  • Women of childbearing age who choose to delay having children (also called Social Egg Freezing)

Cryopreservation

Cryopreservation (freezing) is a procedure which enables us to store sperm, eggs or embryos in a frozen state at extremely low temperatures. If there are surplus good quality embryos available after the embryo transfer, they can be cryopreserved and then used in subsequent treatment cycles.

Cryopreservation can also be used to freeze and store sperm, for example before the start of chemotherapy or when the partner cannot produce a fresh sperm sample for treatment on the day of egg collection.

Vitrification

We use a method of cryopreservation called Vitrification which uses highly concentrated solutions and cryoprotectant to “freeze” eggs and embryos quickly therefore reducing the amount of damage which may occur to them during the process.

Vitrification is a method for long-term preservation of oocytes or sperm through the rapid cooling of cells. The principle of vitrification is the use of highly concentrated solutions of cryoprotective agents (substances protecting cells from damage from frost) in the freezing medium and subsequent abrupt hypercooling of cells (≥1000°C/min) at below -150 °C.


Differences between vitrification and cryopreservation

During conventional cryopreservation, lower concentrations of cryoprotective solutions are used, and the cells are frozen very slowly (±0,3°C/min). Although no water crystals are produced inside the cells during this procedure, such crystals are produced in the freezing medium, which can lead to their damage. During vitrification, formation of water crystals is avoided and the success of cell thawing ranges around 95%.

your journey

Enquiry
& Appointment Booking

Enquiry/Appointment Booking
TODAY

Patients with previous tests or treatments are advised to arrange for copies to bring with them for their first appointment

 

Initial Consultation
with a Doctor

Initial Consultation with a Doctor
1 week

When you attend for your Initial Consultation the Fertility Specialist will discuss your previous medical and fertility history and review any previous investigations or treatments, as applicable. The Fertility Specialist may request further investigations and recommend on treatment options.

 

Follow-up
& Nurse Consultation

Follow-up, Nurse and Embryology
Same day - 1 week

You may require a follow-up appointment with the Fertility Specialist to discuss your results and finalise your treatment. Before your treatment cycle can commence you and your partner, as applicable, will need to attend for a Nurse Consultation with a Fertility Nurse. The nurse will ensure that you understand the individual steps and timeline, discuss medication and its application (where applicable), sign consents (where applicable), perform mandatory virology screening (blood and urine, where applicable) and also answer any questions. You will also have the opportunity to meet with an embryologist to discuss available laboratory services and their potential benefit they may have for your treatment.

 

Start of your
treatment

Start of your treatment
Approximately 14 days

You will attend the clinic for monitoring ultrasound scans, usually four 30 min appointments, you may also be asked to have some blood tests. At these appointment you will be continually informed on your progress and instructed on your next step.

 

Egg
Collection

Insemination/Egg Collection day
1 to 2 days

Approximately 14 days after your treatment start you will be given a date, time and specific instructions on when to attend the clinic for your egg collection.

 

Egg
Freezing

Insemination/Egg Collection day
Same day

Embryologists will assess the collected eggs and decide which are suitable for freezing and update you on the outcome

 

Wellbeing
scan

Insemination/Egg Collection day
Approx. 2 to 3 weeks

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

Costs

We know that cost is usually a concern when patients are considering treatments. We aim to be as transparent and helpful as possible and you can download a Costed Treatment Plan (CTP) document below listing all charges likely associated with this treatment. There may be additional service charges should your particular case need them and these would be discussed with you based on your individualised treatment plan prior to you starting a treatment.

Download PDF

phone-call

If you would like to speak to someone call us on

+44 020 8209 3226
form

You can use our Contact Us Form and one of our administrators will be in touch.

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