Egg Freezing

As Ireland’s leading fertility clinic, we offer the most successful egg freezing programme in Ireland. We are the first and only clinic in Ireland with a licence to use the open vitrification progress for freezing eggs, which is the most successful method available and delivers the best results possible.

 

Why freeze your eggs?

Having your family might not be a priority or part of your plan yet, but biology hasn’t changed with modern times. Fertility declines with age, and egg freezing can take some of the pressure off around important life choices and keep options available later. Having your fertility tested will let you know if this is something you should consider. If you are undergoing any medical treatments such as chemotherapy, egg freezing before your treatment will preserve your fertility should your treatment impact it.

If you have trouble conceiving when you begin trying for your family, having frozen eggs gives you reassurance as the quality of your eggs will have been preserved. This can give you a higher chance of conceiving years later. As we age, our eggs age with us, reducing in number and in quality. Frozen eggs have preserved quality: For example, if you are 32 years of age at the time of freezing, when you return to use them (e.g. in 6 years’ time at 38), the eggs will still be 32-year old eggs, of higher quality than your 38-year-old eggs.

There are a few steps to the process. The first is a fertility assessment to make sure that egg freezing is a viable option for you. The results of your fertility assessments will give you a good indication as to the number of eggs you are likely to freeze, and the fertility specialist may suggest a double cycle to bank a sufficient number of eggs.

The egg freeze treatment cycle is similar to IVF treatment and takes approximately 14 days.

Step 1: Controlled Ovarian Stimulation

Each ovary contains a number of follicles, fluid-filled sacs that contain an immature egg (an “oocyte”). In a regular menstrual cycle, one egg will develop to the correct size and be released from the ovary during ovulation. For egg freezing, we want to stimulate the ovaries to encourage the growth of many follicles so we can collect the eggs. During this stage, you will have some ultrasound scans to monitor the follicles.

Step 2: Egg Collection

When the follicles reach the correct size, you will have a simple egg collection procedure in our theatre. We use light sedation for the procedure so you are comfortable. The eggs are collected from your ovaries and transferred to the laboratory. The embryologists then assess the eggs before using the vitrification process to freeze them.

Step 3: Vitrification – The Freezing Process

The eggs are vitrified (frozen) in the laboratory in an open system freeze. Vitrification involves plunging the eggs into liquid nitrogen so they are cooled instantly to -192°C. This process transforms the eggs into a glass-like state so they are less likely to be damaged by ice crystals. They are then transferred to our long term secure storage.

Step 4: Using Your Frozen Eggs in Fertility Treatment

If you need to use your frozen eggs, they will be thawed and used as part of an ICSI treatment cycle using sperm from your partner or a donor. The eggs are monitored as they develop into embryos and then can be transferred to your uterus to produce a pregnancy.

Once your egg freezing treatment cycle starts, it will typically take 14 days. You will need an average of four trans-vaginal ultrasound scans during this time to monitor your ovaries.

If you are hoping to have a double cycle, you can begin the next cycle after your next menstrual bleed and it will take another approx 14 days until egg collection.

Success rates are always personal, and will depend on your age and the number of eggs that can be retrieved from your ovaries. Research in this area has shown that in order to have a successful fertility treatment in future, approx 8-10 mature eggs  will be needed. Depending on your hormones and AMH level, you may only need one round or treatment, or a second may be recommended.

Fertility is individual to each person and we strongly recommend that women be fertility aware, and have their fertility checked by a specialist. That way, you can discuss all of your options, including freezing, and make a plan that suits your individual needs.

When you decide you want to use your eggs, we will arrange a consultation and prepare you for treatment. We will thaw the frozen eggs and inseminate them with sperm from your partner or a donor using an ICSI procedure. We will monitor the embryos as they develop and then transfer them to your uterus in order to produce a pregnancy.

Freezing your eggs will not guarantee you a baby in future, but it will give you a very good chance. The younger you are when you freeze your eggs, the better the chance of success when you return to use them.

Success with frozen eggs – just as in IVF Treatment – will depend on the age and quality of the eggs when they were frozen. Egg freezing is still a relatively new procedure and the number of women who have come back to thaw their frozen eggs is as yet small, but the success rates for these women are good.

Because freezing is not guaranteed insurance of a pregnancy, we do advise every woman to remain fertility aware. When the time is right for you, you should try for pregnancy. If you need treatment, your frozen eggs, which are younger, may result in a better chance of having a baby than attempting to retrieve eggs at the time, when you may be several years older.

We are happy to keep the eggs in storage for as long as you wish and we will remain in regular contact with you. We will carry out frozen embryo transfers up to the age of 51.

The storage fee is payable monthly by direct debit, see our price list for further details.

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