Assisted Fertility Services had its first successful pregnancy from egg freezing in 1999; since then, more than 25 babies have been born from this procedure, one of the largest groups of successful outcomes in the world. We have published two papers in peer-reviewed literature on our work, and professionals from AFS have given talks and lectures throughout the world on the use of egg freezing in reproductive medicine.
We continue to study and implement new technologies to make egg freezing an even more viable option for women who would benefit from this technology. Our most recent advance is to use a new technique for egg freezing called vitrification. Vitrification is a way of rapidly freezing eggs that improves survival of the eggs after thawing, thus giving patients a greater number of eggs to work with to achieve pregnancy. Since we began use of vitrification in our program, we have seen our egg survival rate after thawing go from approximately 60% to over 80%, and we have had 9 out of 23 (39% pregnancy rate) patients become pregnant after thawing vitrified oocytes.
Advantages of Egg Freezing
The advantages of egg freezing are many. Several categories of women may be candidates for and benefit from freezing their eggs for future use, including:
- Women undergoing assisted reproduction therapies such as in vitro fertilization, but who do not wish to have embryos frozen. Some individuals have ethical, moral, or religious objections to freezing embryos. If a couple does not want to freeze embryos, only a few eggs are fertilized and the rest are discarded. Freezing eggs before fertilization allows the eggs to be stored, providing additional eggs for further attempts at pregnancy if needed. This may allow an individual to undergo fewer (perhaps only one) egg retrieval procedures.
- Women with medical conditions that threaten fertility. Certain medical conditions or the treatments for medical conditions may decrease fertility or even cause irreversible sterility. The use of egg freezing procedures may provide women with these conditions or facing such treatment with an opportunity to preserve fertility.
- Women concerned about an age-related decline in fertility. Fertility declines as a woman ages. Some women want to freeze and store eggs at an earlier age in anticipation of attempting pregnancy later in life.
- Women who want to simplify donor egg procedures. Women who can no longer produce eggs can use eggs from a donor to conceive, but it can require considerable time and expense to coordinate the donor's and recipient's cycles and the fertilization/implantation procedures. The use of frozen donor eggs could greatly simplify this process for many women since the eggs are available for use whenever the recipient is ready.
More About Egg Freezing
While the cost associated with egg or ovarian tissue retrieval will vary somewhat from woman to woman, we believe our average costs are very competitive. Fees for ovarian tissue freezing are variable and need to be discussed on an individual basis. We would be happy to discuss costs with you and help you with any insurance inquiries on an individual basis. Please call 317-621-5315 for more information.
To determine if you would be a suitable candidate for egg freezing, feel free to contact us at 317-621-2414. We will be happy to discuss the procedure in detail and refer you to our physician, Dr. David Carnovale, for a consultation.
Generally, we suggest that some testing be performed to determine if you are likely to produce a suitable number of eggs for freezing. These tests involve blood tests that measure specific hormone levels to determine your "ovarian reserve," or the likelihood that your ovaries would produce a sufficient number of eggs for freezing. As a general rule, older women (greater than 38 years of age) are more likely to have diminished ovarian reserve. Based on the outcome of these tests, we will counsel you on the likelihood of successfully undergoing the process. If your ovarian reserve is low, we may advise you to not undergo the egg retrieval and freezing process. To date, there have been no ongoing pregnancies reported in women over age 38 from frozen eggs. Because each patient is different, however, we have not currently established an age cutoff past which a woman is excluded from undergoing the procedures.