Egg Freezing: Functions and Procedures
κατάψυξη ωαρίων is a procedure for freezing and preserving women’s eggs with the aim of ensuring a woman’s fertility in the future when she is ready to conceive.
The first successful pregnancy from a frozen egg was recorded in 1986.
Why is egg freezing necessary?
Egg freezing is done when a woman is not ready to conceive but wants to make sure she can still get pregnant healthily and normally in the future. Unlike embryo freezing, egg freezing does not require sperm because eggs are not fertilized before being frozen.
Who needs egg freezing?
People who may be able to consider egg freezing procedures are people who:
- Experiencing certain health conditions that interfere with fertility such as sickle cell anemia, autoimmune diseases like lupus, etc.
- Have cancer and will undergo chemotherapy/radiation therapy that affects fertility. Chemotherapy/radiotherapy can affect the quality of the eggs, therefore undergoing an egg freezing procedure may be the right choice to ensure the possibility of conceiving in the future.
- Underwent artificial fertilization such as in vitro fertilization.
- You want to delay pregnancy at an older age. The aging process affects the quality of the egg cells. Therefore taking eggs and freezing them at a relatively young age may guarantee a normal and healthy pregnancy in the future.
What are the preparations before undergoing egg freezing?
Preparations that you can do before undergoing egg freezing are:
- Conducted a lot of research on health care centers that are capable of freezing eggs and with high success rates
- Prepare costs because this procedure is not covered by health insurance and the cost is quite expensive
- Undergoing a medical examination with a doctor,
- Tell your doctor if you have certain diseases and take certain medicines regularly
Before undergoing this procedure, the doctor will ask you to undergo blood laboratory tests for screening such as:
- ovarian reserve (the goal is to determine the number and quality of eggs,
- the concentration of FSH and estradiol hormones in the blood on the third day of menstruation
- Ultrasound to evaluate the condition of the ovaries
- Screening tests for infectious infections.
How is egg freezing done?
Broadly speaking, the egg freezing procedure is divided into stimulation, egg retrieval, and egg freezing.
You will be given a synthetic hormone drug to stimulate the release of a large number of eggs. Medicines that are given are usually in the form of injections. During the stimulation phase, your doctor will perform an evaluation in the form of blood tests to assess your body’s response to ovarian stimulants. The tests performed for evaluation include checking the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Your doctor may also recommend an ultrasound to assess the inside of the ovaries and monitor the development of the eggs.
This procedure is performed under anesthesia. The doctor will perform a transvaginal ultrasound (an ultrasound probe inserted into the vagina) to identify the follicles of the mature egg. A small needle is then slowly inserted into the vagina up to the ovaries to collect eggs. The suction device is connected to the tip of the needle. When the needle has reached the follicle, the suction device is switched on to assist in suctioning the egg. This procedure is done several times to remove a large number of eggs.
As soon as they have been collected, the eggs will be cooled to a temperature below 0 degrees.