Treatment starts the same way as a regular in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle and involves stimulating the woman’s ovaries with fertility medications. Normally, during the reproductive years, a woman’s body releases one egg from the ovary in the middle of each menstrual cycle. By stimulating the ovaries with fertility medications, we are usually able to have multiple eggs reach maturation during a single treatment cycle.
Fertility medications are self-administered as a daily injection for about 10 days, during which time monitoring of the ovarian response is necessary through visits to the institute where blood tests and ultrasound examinations are carried out. During this time, the patient may experience some abdominal discomfort.
Once the eggs are mature oocyte retrieval procedure, is performed. The retrieval is performed under mild sedation and takes about 15 minutes to complete. The number of oocytes retrieved varies from woman to woman and is dependant on a woman’s age and how the individual woman’s body responds to the fertility medications.
After the eggs are retrieved, they are brought to the embryology laboratory where they are initially evaluated for health and then frozen or cryopreserved.
Freezing Eggs for Medical Indications
An example of egg freezing for a medical indication would be a woman between the ages of 15 and 41 years who is diagnosed with a treatable malignancy that will require chemotherapy or radiation treatments to a part of the body near the ovaries. Another example would be a woman who requires surgical removal of her ovary(ies) for a benign or questionable disease process. In these cases, if time permits and the treating doctor(s) approves, the patient can undergo a treatment cycle to cryopreserve eggs.
It is important to know that the timing of egg freezing treatment is, in part, determined by your internal reproductive hormones and that the treatment is generally started at the beginning of the menstrual cycle (if you have a uterus). If cancer is diagnosed and you are interested in freezing eggs, it is important to call your cancer doctor and Florida Fertility as soon as possible so that cancer and egg freezing treatments can be coordinated. The oocyte cryopreservation treatment takes about two weeks and usually fit in between your initial diagnostic procedures and your cancer treatment.
Freezing Eggs for Elective Indications
An example of elective egg freezing would be a woman who is between the ages of 21 and 43 years old who is not in a situation conducive to childbearing at present and wishes to defer reproduction.
Some women elect to undergo more than one treatment cycle to increase the number of eggs they have frozen. This is reasonable and will be discussed with you by your doctor, if appropriate. One useful indicator of oocyte health is a hormone blood test performed on the second or third day of the menstrual cycle looking at the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen (estrodiol) levels, and antimullerian hormone (AMH) levels.
It is important to know that the timing of egg freezing treatment is, in part, determined by your internal reproductive hormones and that the treatment cycle is generally started at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. A oocyte cryopreservation treatment cycle takes about 6 weeks to complete and, during that period, your schedule needs to be relatively flexible. you need to be available for monitoring of the egg development and for the oocyte retrieval procedure.
If you are interested or need more preliminary information about egg freezing Contact Us.