Egg freezing is a reproductive technique available at the Herts & Essex Fertility Centre that enables healthy, young women the opportunity to preserve their fertility.
We know that frozen eggs can be stored safely in liquid nitrogen for many years. Our regulatory body, the HFEA, allows UK clinics to store frozen eggs for up to 10 years. This enables you to use them for your treatment in the future, when you met the right partner, or you are financially or emotionally ready to start your family.
Is egg freezing for me?
Fertility is, unfortunately, age-dependent and your chance of a successful pregnancy with frozen eggs is higher if your eggs are frozen at an early reproductive age.
Success rates for treatment using frozen eggs depend upon many different factors so, when faced with a patient’s enquiry about egg freezing, we will always be honest and realistic. We will provide an account of what egg freezing treatment involves, its advantages and disadvantages, and the potential success rates. As long as the decision is an informed and balanced one, we will never discourage a woman from choosing to freeze her eggs.
Advancements in egg freezing technology, using a rapid cryopreservation procedure known as vitrification, has led to significantly improved success rates, with almost 100% of eggs surviving the freezing and thawing process. Success rates are improving worldwide.
A clinical study of (Cobo 2008*) 57 volunteers (693 vitrified eggs) found:
- 96.1% vitrified eggs survived the thawing
- 73.1% of warmed eggs were fertilised
- 38.5% implantation rate per embryo
- 63.2% pregnancy rate per transfer
Egg freezing is an option to consider for fertility preservation if you are at risk of premature ovarian failure, premature menopause or if you are having surgery to remove your ovaries. Egg freezing can also help preserve your fertility if you are undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment for illnesses such as cancer.
Egg freezing is fast-becoming a serious consideration for many women who are interested in preserving their fertility for social reasons. Elective Egg Freezing (also known as Social Egg Freezing) is fertility preservation for non-medical or non-emergency reasons. For many varied reasons, women in the UK are choosing to start their families later in life; therefore the opportunity to freeze eggs at a younger age to preserve fertility is an attractive option. Elective Egg Freezing offers you the opportunity to plan your family for a convenient time in your life, free from the concern that your fertility may be impaired as you grow older.
What is involved in egg freezing?
You will require an initial appointment with one of our consultants who will discuss the details of the treatment with you and to ensure that egg freezing is the right option. We will perform a blood test known as AMH, or anti-mullerian hormone, which will give an indication of ovarian reserve. This will help us to guide you as to the number of eggs likely to be retrieved and frozen. Also, as with any fertility treatment, you will be required to have the usual routine screening for infectious diseases. You will have ample opportunity to discuss your treatment thoroughly with our experienced team and be offered counselling with an independent specialist fertility counsellor.
You will commence on an IVF treatment cycle using daily injections of reproductive hormones to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs. When your follicles, the sacs in the ovaries which we hope will contain eggs, reach an optimal size, they are removed from your ovaries by a clinician, using a needle under ultrasound guidance. This simple procedure takes place in our operating theatres while you are under sedation. Our embryology team will freeze and store your eggs until you decide that you are ready to use them.
How do I use my frozen eggs?
When you are ready to start a family using your frozen eggs, you will be commenced on a course of medication to prepare your uterus to ensure it is synchronised and ready to receive an embryo created from your frozen eggs. ICSI is the recommended laboratory technique to maximise the chance of fertilisation with frozen eggs and involves the injection of a single sperm directly into the egg to achieve fertilisation. An embryologist will update you daily on fertilisation and embryo development and will guide you as to when to return to the clinic for your embryo transfer.
Funded egg freezing as part of our Egg Sharing programme
We know that nowadays many young women are interested in fertility preservation to enable them to start their families later in life. So, just as our Egg Sharing programme helps women to receive funded IVF treatment, Funded Egg Freezing can also provide women with the opportunity to help another woman who desperately needs donated eggs to begin treatment and at the same time to also meet the cost of her own egg freezing treatment, by sharing half of her eggs. This offer includes free storage for 3 months. Further storage time will be charged at the usual egg freezing rate of £360 per year.
Are you eligible for funded egg freezing?
Anyone interested in our funded egg freezing treatment must be fit and healthy have a BMI of 19-29, an AMH of 15 or over, be under 32 years of age and meet the HFEA criteria required to become an egg donor.
We will ask that you undertake a comprehensive fertility assessment to confirm that you have the potential to produce enough eggs for two people’s treatment. As we are required to assess your health and your genetic makeup, you will need to consent to undertake all the regulatory screening tests. This is to ensure that we do not knowingly pass any inheritable illness on to any child born as a result of your donation.
We are very conscious of the enormous, life-changing gift that our egg share donors make to an infertile couple. It is a very big decision and it is important that you think carefully, and understand fully, both the practical implications involved as well as the emotional consequences. It is, therefore, mandatory that you receive professional counselling by one of our independent counsellors before becoming an egg share donor.
Find out more
If you have any questions about egg freezing, or our Funded Egg Freezing programme, that you would like to discuss, please contact our egg share nurse coordinators, Sarah Templeman on 01992 78 50 67 or Caroline Cayley on 01992 78 50 65 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.