Egg Freezing at San Diego Fertility Center
The San Diego Fertility Center is embarking on a “new” and exciting technology in human IVF: Oocyte Cryopreservation also known as Egg Freezing. The technique involves the freezing of eggs (female gametes) so they can be stored for future use. New freezing methods have lead to a resurgence in the desire to cryopreserve oocytes. Vitrification is a quick-freeze technique that stores the egg in a glass like capsule. Slower freeze methods used for sperm or embryo cryopreservation have proven less desirable for preserving human oocytes.
Our fertility lab director, Bill Venier and his staff are working in conjunction with other IVF centers and healthcare professionals to investigate different freezing technologies, with emphasis on vitrification, to cryopreserve the human egg and preserve a woman’s reproductive potential.
Egg freezing is an up and coming technology, which is starting to be offered by IVF clinics worldwide. The concept has been around for decades with little success until recently. Success rates are still considerably lower than sperm or embryo freezing but have achieved consistent survival rates leading to the birth of healthy babies.
Successful egg freezing has many benefits, which include reducing the cost of egg donation cycles, preserving a woman’s fertility potential until a time that is more desirable, or for women who are going through treatment such as cancer that may reduce or threaten their reproductive health. “The egg freezing technology is still considered experimental”, comments Bill, “Research is ongoing to provide sufficient data on safety and which freezing method produces the best results for our patients.”
Only a small number of births have been reported worldwide, however Drs. Kettel and Hummel are excitingly optimistic that egg freezing techniques will improve and provide a safe alternative for preserving a woman’s reproductive options.