Egg Freezing

As Ireland’s leading fertility clinic, we are able to offer Egg Freezing services with the best success rates in Ireland. Egg freezing is one of the fastest growing fertility treatments, and Waterstone Clinic is at the forefront of this technology. We are the only clinic in Ireland with a licence to use open freezing for eggs, which is the most successful method available, in order to deliver the best results possible.

 

Why freeze your eggs?

There are two main reasons why preserving your fertility may be a good option:

  • To offset any concerns about age-related fertility issues, and the decline of fertility (sometimes called “social egg freezing”)
  • To preserve fertility ahead of medical treatments that may affect fertility, such as chemotherapy (sometimes called “medical egg freezing”)

For women wishing to preserve their fertility and freeze eggs for “social” reasons, egg freezing offers a route whereby if you do not wish to start your family now, but think you might in future, you can preserve your current fertility and give yourself a higher chance at success when you are ready. For example: if you are 32 years of age and freeze your eggs for 6 years, when you come back to use your eggs at age 38, you will be using 32-year old eggs, which will be of higher quality than your 38 year old eggs, as those eggs will have been frozen and not aged.

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. Once you go ahead for treatment, the beginning of the cycle is similar to in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) where you will undergo controlled ovarian stiumulation and an egg collection procedure. Once the eggs are transferred to the laboratory, they are assessed, frozen and stored. More detail on the stages is below:

Initial Egg Freezing Assessment

Before egg freezing, a consultation with a fertility specialist will be arranged to explore if egg freezing will be a viable treatment for you, and estimate the number of eggs that we would likely be able to retrieve in a cycle (some women may decide to undergo a second cycle to bank a good number of eggs).

Controlled Ovarian Stimulation

Each ovary contains a number of follicles; these are fluid-filled sacs that each contain an immature egg (an “oocyte”). You will take a course of medications to stimulate the ovaries and encourage the growth of a number of follicles in the ovaries. You will be monited with ultrasound scans while you take the medication.

Egg Collection

You will have a simple egg collection procedure in our theatre, under light sedation. The eggs will be collected from your ovaries and transferred to the lab for assessment and vitrification.

The Freezing Process

Your eggs will be “vitrified” in an open system which very quickly transforms them into a glass-like state and they are transferred to our long term secure storage, monitored both by our laboratory team and 24 hour alarm systems.

Fertility Treatment

If and when you return to use your frozen eggs, they will be thawed, assessed and then fertilised with either your partner’s or a donor’s sperm. The eggs will be monitored as they develop into embryos and then will be transfered 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. 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 a complete insurance, 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 ‘younger’ frozen eggs may result in a better chance of having a baby that attempting to retrieve eggs at the time, which may be several years older than the eggs you have frozen.

When you undergo treatment, your eggs will be collected and stored for a fixed period of one year. After that year, you can renew storage for blocks of five years, and renew as you see fit. 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 fertility treatment with frozen eggs up to the age of 49.

There is a separate storage fee for frozen eggs after the first year. The fee is payable in advance – see our price list for further details.

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