Who Should Consider Egg Freezing?
The most common groups of women who consider egg freezing are:
- Women diagnosed with cancer who will require chemotherapy or radiation treatments that may make them sub-fertile or sterile.
- Women in their late 20s-30s who are not yet ready to conceive, but plan to eventually. These women can then optimize their chance for conceiving in the future when their personal and/or professional goals are met.
- Women with a family history of ovarian cancer or premature menopause, who may be at future risk of developing ovarian cancer or losing ovarian function.
- Women who want to donate their eggs to others as part of a donor egg bank being created by Dallas IVF.
- Women with specific medical conditions that will be prescribed certain medications that can diminish their ovarian function.
Egg freezing is potentially beneficial to any woman who wishes to preserve their fertility.
Not all women are candidates for oocyte cryopreservation. Ideal candidates are women with normal FSH values who are still in what is considered their “good” reproductive years. Perimenopausal women or women who do not respond well to fertility medications are not good candidates for oocyte cryopreservation.
About Fertility Preservation – Egg Freezing
Oocyte cryopreservation, more commonly known as egg freezing, is a laboratory technique that allows women to store their eggs for future use. These eggs can then be thawed, months or years later, to then be fertilized with sperm, and create embryos. The resulting embryos can then be transferred back into the woman’s uterus to achieve a pregnancy. As a result, women have the opportunity to delay childbearing for many years.
Cryopreservation/freezing is a well-established laboratory technique in human reproduction. The freezing of sperm has been performed since the 1950s, and embryo cryopreservation has been done since the 1980s. Remaining embryos not used in a fresh IVF cycle are commonly cryopreserved at Dallas IVF and at most other IVF labs around the world. The freezing of oocytes/eggs is a much newer technology. Eggs have a high water content and traditional techniques for freezing eggs create ice crystals within the egg. These ice crystals make the eggs very fragile and during the thaw process, the eggs may fracture. A newer technique of freezing in human reproduction, termed vitrification, also known as ‘rapid freezing,’ has revolutionized the freezing of human oocytes. With the technique of oocyte vitrification, eggs are rapidly frozen, without the formation of these harmful ice crystals.
The scientific team at Dallas IVF is proud to have been part of the research behind oocyte vitrification since 2008. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine removed the experimental label of vitrification of human oocytes in October of 2012. Prior to that date, the physicians at Dallas IVF performed oocyte vitrification with approval through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Human Research Protection (IRB 00008053) on January 11, 2011.
If you are interested in egg freezing or want to know if you are a good candidate for the procedure, please contact one of our Dallas IVF physicians.