What does freezing of eggs mean?

Egg freezing, also known as mature oocyte cryopreservation, is a technique used to preserve a woman’s capacity to conceive in the future.

Unfertilized eggs are extracted from your ovaries and preserved for later use. A frozen egg can be thawed in a lab, mixed with sperm, and put in your uterus (in vitro fertilisation).

Based on your needs and reproductive history, your doctor can help you understand how egg freezing works, egg freezing meaning, the potential risks, and whether this method of fertility preservation is right for you.

Ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and freezing are all phases in the egg freezing process.

Stimulation of ovaries- You will be given synthetic hormones to induce your ovaries to create many eggs rather than the single egg that matures monthly.

Medications that may be required include:

Medications used to stimulate the ovaries- You might inject follitropin alfa or beta or menotropins.

Preventing early ovulation using medications- Your doctor may advise you to use an injectable gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist or a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist.

During therapy, your doctor will keep an eye on you. Your response to ovarian-stimulating medications will be assessed by blood testing. Oestrogen levels normally rise as follicles form, but progesterone levels stay low until after ovulation.

Following-up appointments will also involve a vaginal ultrasound- a treatment that employs sound waves to generate an image of the interior of your ovaries- to track the growth of fluid-filled sacs where eggs mature (follicles).

Egg retrieval is usually done under anaesthesia at your doctor’s office or a facility. Transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, in which an ultrasonography probe is placed into your vagina to detect the follicles, is a typical procedure.

A needle is then inserted into a follicle via the vagina. To retrieve the egg from the follicle, a suction device attached to the needle is employed. Multiple eggs can be extracted, and studies suggest that the more eggs extracted — up to 15 per cycle — the greater the odds of conceiving.

Your unfertilized eggs are chilled to subzero temperatures shortly after they are extracted in order to preserve them for future use. The composition of an unfertilized egg makes it more difficult to freeze and lead to a successful pregnancy than the composition of a fertilised egg (embryo).

The most popular method for freezing eggs is known as vitrification. With fast chilling, high quantities of chemicals that aid in the formation of ice crystals during the freezing process (cryoprotectants) are utilised.

You should be able to resume normal activities within a week following egg retrieval. To avoid an unplanned pregnancy, avoid unprotected intercourse.

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