Human oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a technology in which a woman’s unfertilized oocytes are retrieved from the ovaries, frozen and stored. Both classical and vitrification techniques are employed by our embryologists. Later when the woman desires to become pregnant, the eggs may be thawed, fertilized and transferred in an attempt to establish a pregnancy.
Common reasons for oocyte cryopreservation include:
- A woman may desire to postpone childbearing because of career or other reasons. Freezing oocytes at an early age may offer a chance for a future pregnancy.
- Additionally, women with a family history of early menopause have an interest in fertility preservation. The likelihood of these patients experiencing premature ovarian failure is very high, and their options for childbearing become limited without the availability of banking their oocytes for future use.
- Women diagnosed with cancer that have not yet begun chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Being diagnosed with cancer is a life-changing event. It does not have to mean, however, the end of fertility.
- Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are toxic for oocytes, leaving few, if any, viable eggs. Egg freezing offers women with cancer the chance to preserve their eggs so that they may have children in the future.
- Often there is a window of time between the surgery and chemotherapy in which the woman’s ovaries may be stimulated in order to retrieve and preserve the eggs. Alternatively, if there is a male partner, embryos may be frozen.
When the time is appropriate to attempt pregnancy, the woman’s uterus is prepared with hormones to accept the thawed and fertilized eggs. The resultant embryos are simply transferred to the uterus. The hormonal support is continued until the pregnancy becomes self-sustaining.
Sara shares how she wouldn’t be pregnant without the decision to freeze her eggs years ago!
In June, 2008, I was pondering the idea of “egg freezing,” I had read magazine articles about this new procedure being performed. They even had had lectures in the city that women could attend about this topic. I figured I would attend some of these lectures and lean more about egg freezing. After I educated myself about the procedure, I thought I would get some consultations and decided on Westchester Fertility. The office was warm and inviting. Dr. Blotner and his staff were “top notch” and I was extremely comfortable. I froze my eggs in September of 2008 and I was thrilled with the decision I made. I felt it was my “insurance policy” when the time would come for me to have a baby.
Five years later, in 2013, my husband and I decided to get pregnant using my frozen eggs. They thawed all eight eggs, six of which survived. So began our journey. In November of 2013, Dr. Blotner transferred two embryos. After the transfer, I stayed in bed for 2 days. After 2 days of bed rest, I was extremely careful not to overexert myself. I then waited 2 weeks to find out if the embryos implanted. Waiting of course was no picnic! On 11/29/13, Dr. Blotner called me and told me that I had a positive pregnancy test!!! My husband and I were thrilled. We are now expecting a baby in Aug of 2014 and couldn’t be happier!
Thank you to Dr Blotner and the Westchester Fertility staff for your hard work and dedication!