Freezing your eggs: how, when and why

Freezing your eggs: how, when and why


Freezing your eggs: how, when and why

Becoming a mother is a personal decision which we often put off while we wait for the right time. The trouble is that as we age, the quantity and quality of our eggs decrease while fertility problems increase, which is why many women choose to freeze their eggs. In Spain, even though the demand for this procedure has increased exponentially over the last ten years, the topic is rarely discussed. As a result, many women are unsure about the best time to freeze their eggs, what the procedure involves and what risks it entails.

How are the eggs frozen?
The technique, known as vitrification, consists of an ultra-fast freezing process which is currently performed in semi-automated fashion at Dexeus Mujer.

Is hormone treatment required?
Yes it is. Before the procedure, you will need to receive a hormone treatment to encourage the ovaries to produce more eggs. This is a very simple process which takes 7 to 10 days. The dosage is defined on an individual basis.

How are the eggs harvested?
Extraction takes place by ultrasound-guided transvaginal puncture. The procedure is performed under sedation and on an outpatient basis (meaning that it does not require hospitalisation).

Where are the eggs stored?
Eggs are stored in nitrogen containers at -196o C until you decide to use them. They can be stored for a practically unlimited time (more than 15 years).

When should I get my eggs frozen?
Eggs retain the same quality they had at the time of vitrification, which is why you should ideally get your eggs frozen before you reach the age of 35 (or no later than 37), as this is then when their quality is at its peak.

Will I need to resort to assisted reproduction?
Yes. When the time comes that you decide to use them, your eggs will be thawed and then inseminated with either partner or donor sperm using in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Obviously, if you do not have fertility problems, you can also get pregnant naturally.

Why do it?
From a medical point of view, egg freezing is advisable if you have been diagnosed with borderline or low ovarian reserve and you have no immediate plans to get pregnant, if you are about to undergo a surgical procedure which might damage your ovaries, or if you will follow a treatment which might have a negative impact on your ovarian reserve, such as chemotherapy. In the absence of medical reasons for the procedure, it is usually carried out for professional or personal reasons.


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