One rapidly growing worldwide trend is “conceiving kids at a later age”. With advanced medical technology, women are no longer worried about the biological clock ticking. It is a well-known fact that fertility in both men and women reduces with age. Egg freezing is the second most popular Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) after IVF. But how can one freeze their eggs, and how long are they stored for?
Basic understanding of Egg Freezing
Once a month, women release a mature egg in a process known as Ovulation. First, however, eggs are retrieved directly from the ovaries in egg freezing and frozen. Then, whenever women feel ready to conceive, these eggs are used. This process is medically known as oocyte cryopreservation. These frozen eggs are good for use and are not compromised in quality for up to 10 years after the freezing process is done.
Below are a few of the reasons why egg freezing is opted by women:-
- Women want the flexibility to have a biological child at a later age.
- Women undergoing cancer treatment also freeze their eggs. Treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation affect their fertility.
- If the couple is undergoing an IVF treatment and the male partner cannot produce sperm on the day the eggs are retrieved, the eggs are frozen and later thawed before fertilization.
Egg freezing process
Hormones are injected so that more eggs are produced. Then, the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries in a minor procedure. These collected eggs are carefully protected and frozen in the lab for future use. These eggs are good for fertilization for up to ten years after being frozen. Around 30-40 eggs are stored. Unfortunately, only 6 to 8 eggs can survive the freezing and thawing process out of these stored eggs. Out of these surviving eggs, the chance of a successful conception is 32% and 18%, depending on the woman’s age at the time she freezes her eggs.
The survival rate of Frozen Eggs
Factors affecting the survival rate of eggs:-
Age of retrieval: The best age to freeze eggs is in the late twenties. But it is quite common that egg freezing is common at thirty to thirty-five. If eggs are retrieved over the age of 35, then, later on, the chances of pregnancy with those eggs will be less. In such a case, it is better to opt for a donor.
The woman’s health: There is always a pre-screening done before retrieving the eggs. The patient is usually tested for Hepatitis, HIV or any blood-borne disease. Eggs extracted from healthy ovaries have a high survival rate.
Ten years storage limit: The eggs can be stored for 10 years in an ideal condition. There have been cases when women could successfully get pregnant even after 10 years of usage. This ten years limit is for legal reasons and as per government regulations. If the woman is younger when she freezes her eggs, there are very few chances of using the frozen eggs since she might conceive naturally. So for freezing the eggs for 10 years, women should carefully consider their age and plans. If the woman does not use her eggs before the 10 years storage limit, those eggs might perish, and she has to go for IVF.
Freezing of eggs is a costly process too. In India, it costs approximately between 150000 and 170000 INR. Hence the decision should not be taken lightly. At ZIVA clinics, we will guide you through the entire process. We will explain the legal ramifications and how you can subsequently utilize the eggs.