8 answers to the most common questions related to Egg Freezing

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egg freezing young womanToday’s tempo of living often results in couples and especially women postponing getting pregnant and starting a family. The reasons are different for everybody. Some are postponing it because of career building, lack of readiness for parenthood, financial instability… Some are obliged to postpone it due to some medical conditions that have to be resolved prior to getting pregnant.

People that are postponing pregnancy to a more advanced age are unfortunately exposed to a greater risk of aged reproductive material. The quality of the reproductive material is declining with age. On the other hand, the condition of the uterus is not affected by age. Therefore, preventing solutions and tools to preserve our “young reproductive material” is highly welcomed.

Fortunately, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are following the demands that are appearing fastly and effectively. The solution that ART gives to those who would like to preserve their fertility and prevent the risk of aged reproductive material is Egg Freezing. 

Combined with in vitro fertilization (IVF), possibly IVF with sperm donation, the Egg Freezing at EuroCARE IVF Clinic in North Cyprus can be a good strategy in getting pregnant when you feel ready, even in a more advanced reproductive age, with your own reproductive material.

So, what should you know, if you are interested in freezing your eggs?

What is the Egg Freezing procedure? 

Egg Freezing is one of the current available ART which can complement an IVF treatment as a preventive fertility tool. It is also known as oocyte cryopreservation. Through literature can be further found as fertility preservation too. 

Egg freezing is a simple procedure for the patient. On the other hand, it is quite a modern and progressive technology of freezing and preserving a woman’s egg quality until the moment she decides she wants to get pregnant. The procedural steps up to the point of fertilization and final embryo transfer are the same as for a standard IVF Cyprus treatment.

Here are the steps into details.

Fertility evaluation

The first step that euroCARE performs before the egg retrieval is the Fertility Evaluation containing: 

  • Hormone blood tests:  AMH, TSH, and Prolactin
  • Blood test to check:  HIV, HBsAg, HCV, VDRL
  • Transvaginal ultrasound scan:  Examination of the antral follicle count & size /ovaries & womb lining check.
  • Scan to be carried out on day 2 or 3 of the menstrual cycle.

After the Fertility evaluation, our fertility doctors will review your reproductive health and proceed with the ovarian stimulation. The results have to show that there is absolutely nothing indicating infertility risks or poor egg quality. 

Ovarian stimulation and Egg retrival

The ovarian stimulation is the second step of the IVF cycle when the patient should self-administer daily hormonal injections for approximately 10 to 14 days. These injections are necessary to stimulate the ovaries to grow multiple follicles. During this period, the woman should be monitored with ultrasound and blood tests to make sure that the stimulation is going okay.  

After this period, the patient will undergo a quick IVF procedure called Egg Retrieval.

The procedure consists of egg retrieving, proceeding the eggs for freezing and storing them in special facilities for future use. The procedure of retrieving the eggs is done under light sedation. It is a painless procedure, done with ultrasound-guided aspiration. The egg retrieving procedure is done in approximately 20 minutes and multiple eggs are collected. 

Egg freezing

All the eggs are stored and frozen for future use. When the patient decides to proceed with the full IVF treatment, the fertility evaluation is routinely made again and the IVF process would start with thawing the eggs, fertilization of the eggs and the final transfer of the embryo. 

In what situations Egg Freezing is beneficial? 

Besides preserving your eggs and fertility for personal reasons, this treatment can help in the following situations: 

  • A condition or certain biological circumstance was detected that can affect your fertility. Here are belonging sickle cell anemia, autoimmune diseases such as lupus
  • You need treatment for cancer or another illness that can affect your ability to get pregnant. Chemotherapy and radiation can harm your fertility. Egg freezing before starting chemo might enable you to have biological children later.

What is the best age to undergo Egg Freezing for preserving fertility? 

Even though this can depend on the women’s personal situation, 90% of the women have their fertility peak in the middle of the late twenties. The major decrease in the quality of her eggs and her fertility is happening after the age of 35. Based on this, the most recommended age at which this procedure can be done to prevent fertility and enable healthy pregnancy in the future is in the early 30s. 

How many eggs should I freeze to increase my chances of future pregnancy?

Every woman is different, but there are some strategies that fertility doctors are recommending based on previous experiences and research. The number of frozen eggs depends on the age of women. As older is the woman, as more eggs she should freeze. So, here are some approximate numbers: 

  • Women under 35 should freeze approximately 12 eggs to achieve a successful pregnancy.
  • Women aged 36 – 40 should freeze approximately 15 eggs to achieve a successful pregnancy.

Which method is used in EuroCARE IVF Clinic?

The egg freezing can be done with several different methods. Common for all of them is the usage of cryoprotectants. They are needed to replace the water from the egg cell and prevent the formation of ice crystals that can damage the cell.  The methods vary in the concentration of cryoprotectants used. Also, they differ in the time needed for freezing. Finally, they also differ in the success of the preservation. 

Flash-freezing process known as Vitrification is the most effective proven technique of egg freezing. It is significantly faster, but it uses a high concentration of cryoprotectants. The outcome from this egg freezing technology is a solid clean cell, without any traces of ice crystals.

This is done using cryoprotectants which replace most of the water within the cell and inhibit the formation of ice crystals.  It is the most used technology for egg freezing too.

What are the potential risks of Egg Freezing?

The risks associated with egg freezing are also related to the IVF treatment itself. The major ones are related to the reaction to fertility medications during the stimulation phase. 

Development of Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

The most common risk is developing Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) due to ovarian stimulation medicine. In most cases, the syndrome is mild, with symptoms such as abdominal bloating, mild discomfort and nausea. In moderate OHSS there is increased abdominal bloating resulting in pain and vomiting. Reduced urine output may occur. 

Severe OHSS is the most serious, but less often appearing to diagnose, with extensive bloating, thirst and dehydration occur with minimal urine output. Kidney and liver function can be compromised. Hospitalization under specialist care is indicated.

In any case, OHSS usually resolves in 7–10 days if an embryo transfer was not done in the meantime. In the case of Egg Freezing, no embryo transfer takes place, so even if the condition appears it can be resolved with suitable medications from your fertility team. 

Anyway, even if this condition is described as the most common risk of Egg Freezing occurs in 5% of the women only. 

Bleedings and infections

Here we would like to mention the risks associated with the procedure performed. Spotting or minor bleeding after this procedure is normal and expected. Infections are rarely happening, only in cases when the woman has a suppressed immune system or severe ovarian endometriomas. 

What to expect after the procedure? 

The steps necessary to be done so the Egg Freezing can happen are not invasive and don’t disturb your normal way of living. Usually, most of the clinics are releasing the patient the same day when the procedure is done. Bed rest is not always the best solution for everything. 

Our fertility doctors recommend for the period after the Egg Freezing to avoid unprotected sex if you want to avoid unintended pregnancy.

Usually, Egg Freezing doesn’t lead to post-procedural complications, but the patients undergoing this procedure should know that they SHOULD NOT EXPECT the following to happen: 

  • A fever higher than 38 C
  • Strong abdominal pain
  • Weight gain of more 0.9 kilograms in 24 hours
  • Heavy bleeding 
  • Difficulty urinating

If some of the symptoms are noticed, you should inform the team that was responsible for your procedure and see for a solution as soon as possible. 

What to do and don’t do before the Egg Freezing procedure?

Even though you are not preparing for getting pregnant, you will have to avoid or include some new habits in your life. So, here is a sum up of our doctor’s recommendations. 

Don’t use pregnancy pills

Pregnancy pills are preventing ovulation phase, so before undergoing Egg Freezing you should consider stopping taking them. If you have been using them for a long period of time, our doctors recommend a month rest from the anticonception therapy. After the Egg Retrieval and Egg Freezing are done, you are able to continue with your pills. 

The type of pills though has to be discussed with your gynecologist or with our fertility doctors since there might be a hormonal change after this period within your body. 

Don’t jump into new diets or eating regimes

It is true that there are types of foods that can improve your overall fertility, but those diets can not affect the quality of the eggs. Anyway, drastic changes in your eating routines can cause complications in your body. Therefore, whatever change you would like to apply in this period, make sure that it is very similar to your previous way of nutrition.
Make mild and moderate changes!

Don’t smoke

This is something from which your body will benefit a lot. If you have been smoking for a long time, your body is more exposed to risks related to fertility and pregnancy. Though, stopping with this habit prior to the Egg Freezing procedure will for sure have a positive outcome. 

Relax and reduce the stress in your life

The link between stress, your hormone levels, and fertility are strong and undoubtedly affecting your chances to get pregnant. Ovulation is one of the biological processes that can be strongly affected by living under stressful conditions.  So, even before, and after this procedure, keep the stress out as much as you can. Try some meditative techniques, yoga, breathing exercises that would help with reducing the stress. 

For how long my eggs can be frozen?

The freezing procedure is effective and secure. Even so, the optimal length to keep your eggs frozen is 10 years. The good side of this procedure is that allows the luxury of “No expiration date” for your eggs if they are frozen.  IVF treatments can cope with pregnancy even after 40, so there are not many limitations here. 

What is the cost of egg freezing?

The answer to this question definitely varies from clinic to clinic and from country to country. So, what we would state here are approximate costs. Egg freezing procedure (without embryo transfer) in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other European countries varies in between $5,000 and $12,000. More affordable treatments are offered In the fertility abroad clinics in Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Ukraine.

Here at euroCARE IVF in Cyprus we tend to offer cost and effective packages for this treatment. The cost of Egg Freezing at euroCARE IVF is 2500 EUR. The package includes your fertility evaluation and scans, egg retrieval process and egg freezing storage fee up to one year. The annual storage price after the first year is 500 Eur. 

Remember: You can have it both: a Career and a Family! 

Most people believe that women are always strained between the roles of a mother and the role they chose to fulfill professionally. This technology allows them to have it both and decide when they are ready for it. We strongly believe that each woman should have the chance to enjoy the fruits from her carrier, and the blessing of a healthy baby!

EuroCARE is here for you! 

Consult with our team and share your experience with us. We would patiently listen to your story and provide you with the most favorable and affordable option for you.
The IVF success rates of euroCARE IVF are a strong indicator of our strong dedication to help couples improve their chances of getting pregnant, and help them get pregnant with a wide range of low-cost IVF treatments.
You are only a step away from getting free consultations with one of the best IVF doctors in Cyprus

Resources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/egg-freezing/about/pac-20384556
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-45095961
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oocyte_cryopreservation