What is Oocyte Freezing?
Oocyte freezing is method of fertility preservation in which the eggs are extracted from ovaries, frozen and stored for future use. It is a process of preserving women fertility. The extracted eggs are unfertilized eggs. At the later stage when the women wish to conceive the stored eggs are unfrozen, fertilized with sperm in lab to create an embryo, which is implanted in the uterus.
Causes for need of Oocyte Freezing
The fertility of a person can be at risk due to present ailment or its treatment procedure or after treatment effects. Following are the causes based on which an individual decides for Oocyte freezing –
- Woman who has to go through cancer treatment process like chemotherapy and radiotherapy which might affect her fertility.
- A woman who is suffering from non deadly disease but the treatment of it may affect her fertility.
- Woman with genetic diseases may get her fertility affected in the future.
- Woman who need to undergo a surgery that might affect her ovarian tissue.
- A woman who going through in vitro fertilization treatment.
- If a woman doesn’t want to utilize remaining embryos left post IVF treatment.
- A woman at risk of premature ovarian failure due to chromosomal disorder.
- A woman who is converting to male is planning to start hormone therapy or is planning to undergo genital reconstructive surgery.
- Women who want to delay in having child till achieving career objective or meeting right person or to complete education or other reasons.
- Women who are on the active military duty.
When to visit a doctor?
The oocyte freezing can be performed by specialist called reproductive endocrinologist at dedicated fertility clinic. If you are planning for oocyte freezing treatment for above mentioned causes kindly visit the reproductive endocrinologist for proper and accurate guidance
Diagnosis for Oocyte Freezing
Prior to starting of oocyte freezing process the doctor prefer below mentioned screening blood test to ensure and determine that egg retrieved are healthy and of quality –
- Ovarian Reserve Testing - The doctor may conduct blood test to study the concentration of follicle stimulating hormone and estradiol hormone in the blood to ensure the quality and quantity of the egg. The test is done on third day of menstrual cycle. The result will help them to forecast how the ovaries will interact during medication process.
- Pelvic Ultrasound – The pelvic ultrasound is used to ensure that ovaries are of right size. It is a non invasive technique of diagnosis.
- Infectious Disease Screening – The test is done to identify any infectious disease like HIV, Hepatitis etc. It has no bearing on the process but to verify that infected samples are stored separately from the other lot.
Process of Oocyte Freezing
The process of oocyte freezing or egg freezing has three steps. They are –
- Ovarian Stimulation – In this step the ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs through medication rather than the typical single egg development in a thirty days. These medications are for two purposes:
- Medicine for ovarian stimulation. – This treatment involves injection of follitropin alfa or menotropins.
- Medicine to prevent premature ovulation - This treatment involves injection of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist or antagonist.
During the whole process the doctor will observe the patient. At first blood tests will be conducted to measure your response to stimulation medications. If positive then in that scenario estrogen levels will increase as follicles develop, and progesterone levels remain low till completion of ovulation.
Second, after positive result of blood test, sonohysterography will be conducted to observe follicle in ovaries.
After 10-14 days, when the follicles are ready an injection of chorionic gonadotropin or other medication is administered to help the eggs mature.
- Egg Retrieval – This step is done through transvaginal ultrasound. In this transducer is inserted to identify follicles. Then a needle with suction device attached to it is inserted to retrieve the eggs from follicle. Mostly 15 eggs are collected. All this process is done under anesthesia.
- Freezing – In this step the collected unfertilized eggs are administered cryoprotectant a freezing solution to, protect them. The freezing process is done through slow cooling or vitrification. Then they are stored in tanks of liquid nitrogen.
Oocyte freezing is a method of fertility preservation in which the eggs are extracted from ovaries, frozen and stored for future use.
It is a test to study the concentration of follicle stimulating hormone and estradiol hormone in the blood to ensure the quality and quantity of the egg.
The oocyte freezing can be performed by specialist called reproductive endocrinologist.
15 eggs are collected from follicle in one cycle.
The freezing process is done through slow cooling or vitrification.