Egg Freezing/Fertility Preservation

Fertility Preservation

Oocyte cryopreservation, or egg freezing, is a relatively new procedure in the field of assisted reproductive technologies. Overall, this technology increases a woman's potential to have children later in life. Since the first successful pregnancy using egg freezing was reported in 1986, hundreds of babies have been born. Currently, pregnancy rates are between 30 and 40 percent.

Egg Freezing

Egg freezing allows a woman to preserve her fertility until she is ready to start her family. This option is available to women who are diagnosed with cancer or other illness that may affect their fertility. It is also an option for healthy women who wish to delay attempting to achieve pregnancy until later, knowing that as we age our fertility function decreases. During an egg-freezing cycle, a patient will go through many of the same steps that are involved in a typical IVF cycle: ovulation stimulation, ultrasound monitoring, and egg retrieval. After egg retrieval, the eggs will be cultured for a few hours and then frozen the same day for future use.

Our team will help guide you through the process, and help you to evaluate if this is the right option for you. An outline of the process can help you see that it is a fairly easy process and can be coordinated with your schedule so that it does not impact your other obligations.

  1. Initial consultation with San Diego Fertility Center physician
  2. Preliminary fertility testing – Day 3 FSH level, ultrasound, infectious disease testing.
  3. Nursing consultation and treatment coordination visit: the treatment timeline is jointly planned and all treatment details are explained.
  4. First treatment appointment – ultrasound and medication review
  5. Begin taking medications
  6. Treatment visits for ultrasound review and blood tests (usually 5 in total over a period of two weeks)
  7. Egg retrieval – outpatient procedure with anesthesia
  8. Egg Freezing

Embryo Freezing

An alternative option in fertility preservation is embryo freezing. Although egg freezing success rates are improving, we see higher success rates with embryo cryopreservation. Once the eggs are retrieved, the mature eggs are fertilized with either partner or donor sperm. These high quality embryos remain frozen until the patient is ready to use them. If patients have completed their families, they have the option to donate these frozen embryos to research, another couple, or training; the embryos can also be discarded.