What to know about the egg freezing process
Egg freezing through a process called vitrification offers women flexibility to store their eggs for a period up to many years if they want to become pregnant at a later date. Vitrification is clinically accepted and considered one of the most advanced techniques our Louisiana IVF centers have to offer fertility patients. But what does it involve?
Steps to egg freezing
Freezing eggs when you’re still in your 20s or early 30s gives you the best chance of later producing a viable pregnancy and healthy baby. As you get older, the number and quality of your eggs diminishes. Here are the steps involved to consider:
- Injections and oral medications to prompt ovarian stimulation
- Egg retrieval
- Egg freezing
- Egg storage
Our Lafayette and Baton Rouge fertility specialists will guide you through each step of the way in a caring, compassionate manner.
Medication and injections
You’ll start treatment at the beginning of a menstrual cycle to prompt your ovaries to bring to maturation more than the single egg normally produced in a cycle. This preparation is identical to the first phase of the in vitro fertilization process. However, rather than eggs being fertilized and transferred to the uterus, the eggs produced are frozen.
You need to plan for about 12 days of self-administered hormone injections and morning visits to our Lafayette fertility or Baton Rouge fertility centers. Our team will show you how to administer the injections, which may cause some discomfort but generally are not painful.
The next step in egg freezing is the retrieval. This procedure takes about 15 minutes in our South Louisiana fertility centers with the patient under light anesthesia. A skilled surgeon, your fertility specialist will retrieve the eggs, through the vagina, using ultrasound to aspirate eggs from follicle. A waiting embryologist will collect, examine and prepare all viable eggs for cryopreservation.
The techniques of egg freezing have evolved so far that the success of using frozen eggs is equal to, if not better than, when fresh eggs are used during in vitro fertilization. Research and our own IVF center teams report that frozen eggs are viable for years after retrieval. Our South Louisiana fertility centers freeze the eggs in a carefully balanced, protectant solution that helps ensure the eggs’ viability for later use.
After the procedure
You should be able to resume your normal activities within days of egg retrieval. Of course, you’ll want to follow a healthy diet, get enough rest and follow our fertility specialists’ instructions. While we do not expect complications, notify our office of any unusual conditions such as high fever, severe abdominal pain, heavy vaginal bleeding or difficulty urinating. Our Southern Louisiana fertility team is always happy to answer your questions. Find out more in our Egg Freezing FAQs.
When you’re ready to get pregnant
When you’re ready, make an appointment to meet with one of our fertility specialists to discuss getting pregnant and starting medications to prepare your body for embryo transfer. Your eggs will be thawed and fertilized, and then examined to determine the best embryo for transfer to your uterus to produce a healthy baby. We’ll be with you every step of the way!