How Does the Egg Freezing Process Work?
Are you considering freezing your eggs? The egg freezing process is relatively simple, and allows many women the freedom to get pregnant on their own terms when the time is right. Egg freezing is becoming a much more popular option among women who want to wait longer before starting a family. Whatever your motivation for considering the egg freezing, it can help to know the exact steps in the process before inquiring with a reproductive specialist. Here are the main steps of the egg freezing process:
Step 1. Determine if Egg Freezing is Right for You
There are a few different reasons a woman might be considering freezing her eggs. While every woman is unique, the most common reasons include:
- The patient is approaching a more mature age and has not yet found a partner or sperm donor. She may want to freeze her eggs as a precaution and to take the pressure off of finding a partner/sperm donor in the immediate future.
- The patient wants to eventually have children, but the timing is not right at the moment. Egg freezing empowers women who may be busy building a career, not in the right place in her career to have a child, or may be going through family issues that could affect the timing.
- The patient may have cancer or another serious illness and want to preserve eggs as a precaution before undergoing treatment that may impact egg health.
- The patient is in the armed forces or a dangerous career field and would like to preserve eggs as a precaution before being deployed.
These are not all-encompassing reasons that women choose to freeze their eggs, but may help you as you determine if egg freezing is right for you.
Step 2. Schedule an Evaluation with a Reproductive Specialist
After determining that egg freezing is something you are definitely interested in, you will need to schedule an evaluation with a reproductive specialist. During an evaluation or egg check test, a fertility specialist will ensure the patient is in good physical and emotional health and will also check to make sure the patient still has viable eggs. It is important that the eggs are healthy, as it would be a waste of time to go through the entire stimulation process and find that there are no healthy eggs to freeze. In the evaluation, the patient will also decide if she wants to freeze her eggs or have them fertilized with sperm and then freeze the embryo.
Step 3. Begin the Stimulation Process
The stimulation process prompts the ovaries to produce more eggs than normal to increase the chances of the retrieval of some healthy eggs. Stimulation is exactly the same process that women going through IVF have to deal with. This is achieved through follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) injections, which are administered 1-2 times per day for 8-11 days. An antagonist medication will also be administered daily during this period. This makes sure that the egg is not released before the retrieval process.
Step 4. The Retrieval of the Eggs
Exactly 36 hours before the retrieval of the eggs is scheduled, the patient will get one last “trigger” medication injection. This medication ensures the eggs are released at the exact time of the retrieval to ensure for a successful procedure. The retrieval is minimally invasive and will involve your doctor inserting a needle through the vaginal wall while the patient is sedated. This is used to gently suction the eggs from the ovaries one by one and placed into a test tube.
Step 5. The Eggs (or Embryos) are Frozen and Stored Until Ready for Use
An embryologist will freeze the eggs or embryo until they are ready to be thawed and fertilized for future use. Recovery takes about a day of rest and minimal physical activity. Most patients feel better in about a day. Within 24-48 hours, your doctor will call to check in with you and let you know how many eggs were successfully retrieved and frozen.
Egg Freezing Near You in New York
If you are interested in freezing your eggs in New York, consider working with the experts at NYU Langone Reproductive Specialists of New York. We are proud to help so many women build the family they have dreamed of – on their own time. Contact us today to schedule your evaluation and to learn more about the process.