Otherwise known as cryopreservation, egg freezing involves the freezing and storage of unfertilized eggs obtained by stimulation and egg retrieval. The procedure is ideal for couples who want to achieve pregnancy at a later date through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The process begins with ovarian stimulation, which utilizes hormones that are self-administered daily by the patient for ten days. Next, the patient undergoes transvaginal (or trans-abdominal) egg retrieval. The unfertilized eggs are frozen and stored for potential future use.
When it comes to fertility, age is an important factor. As women become older, their eggs diminish in number and quality, which makes it difficult to become or stay pregnant.
For women who are not ready to conceive but want to preserve fertility for the future, fertility preservation is a perfect option. It is also ideal for women who experience conditions that affect fertility or require treatment for cancer or another illness.
For women and men diagnosed with cancer, egg freezing and sperm freezing protect eggs and sperm before cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Unfortunately, cancer treatments are toxic and can negatively impact eggs and sperm.
At Vios Fertility Institute at Hoffman Estates and at our other locations, our team of reproductive endocrinologists works directly with oncologists to ensure optimal coordination of cancer treatments and fertility preservation. We understand the importance of cancer treatments, which is why we guarantee all oncofertility patients see a Vios provider within 24-48 hours of their first phone call.
After the initial consultation, we can begin the process of growing, freezing, or fertilizing eggs within two days and finish the process in two weeks. Depending on the type of chemotherapy regimen, the endocrinologist may not recommend fertility preservation.
For more information about cancer treatments and fertility, please contact the experts at Vios Fertility Institute Hoffman Estates or read our blog article Fertility Preservation and Fertility Options After Cancer Diagnosis.
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
Premature ovarian insufficiency, or premature menopause, refers to a significantly diminished or absent ovarian function before the age of 40 and affects 1-2% of girls and women. If a female has diminished or absent ovarian function, they will not produce normal amounts of hormones or release eggs regularly, resulting in infertility.
If you experience the symptoms of premature ovarian failure, you should consider fertility preservation to preserve viable eggs or embryos for future use. The signs and symptoms of POF include:
- Hot flashes
- Irregular or skipped periods
- Mood lability
- Ovulating early in the menstrual cycle or not ovulating at all
- Shortening menstrual cycles or pre-cycle spotting
Women with chronic autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, should consider fertility preservation. The medications that treat autoimmune diseases possess ingredients that harm ovaries and cause infertility.
However, like chemotherapeutic agents, some medications do not harm ovaries. If you are unsure about the effects of your medication, you should consult your doctor immediately.
How Does Fertility Preservation Work?
Fertility preservation is the freezing of eggs or embryos for future use through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF). In a normal menstrual cycle, women grow multiple eggs every month, and 1-2 eggs develop bigger than the rest and are selected for ovulation.
Next, medications called gonadotropins are injected into the stomach to grow the eggs. Typically, you will undergo multiple injections per day for about two weeks, or until the eggs can be removed.
The egg retrieval is performed under anesthesia (so the patient is asleep) using a vaginal ultrasound probe with a tiny needle attached. The needle moves through the wall of the vagina and directly into the ovary, so you will not notice any incisions when you wake up. The fluid is removed from the ovary with a needle, which is given to an embryologist. They will identify the eggs under a microscope.
Who is Eligible for Egg Freezing?
Elective egg freezing is ideal for post-pubertal to pre-menopausal females (ages 15-45). However, it is recommended that women take advantage of their body’s fertility in their 20s or 30s.
Future Use for Elective Egg Freezing
When you are ready to have a baby, the frozen eggs are thawed and fertilized. The resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus of the patient or a gestational carrier. If the patient does not have adequate ovarian function at the time, she can take hormones for approximately three weeks before transfer and three months after to support the pregnancy.
Fertility Preservation for Men
While a male produces millions of new sperm every day, there are situations in which a man may prefer to freeze sperm.
During the simple process, a man ejaculates into a sterile container, which is frozen through the process of vitrification. A man can produce multiple specimens over a short period of time until the desired number of frozen sperm has been reached.
At Vios Fertility in Hoffman Estates, IL and at Our Other Locations, Conception is Our Life
At Vios Fertility Institute in Hoffman Estates and at our other locations, we are on a mission to help you achieve your dreams of parenthood. Whether you are unable to conceive a child, or you want to learn more about fertility preservation, our team of compassionate doctors is here for you. We will help you find your way to fertility health and conception with innovative, cutting-edge treatment options along with unmatched patient experience.
While we have other locations in Northern Illinois, Vios Hoffman Estates is most convenient to Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Des Plaines, Northbrook, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Mount Prospect.
To learn more about your specific options concerning fertility diagnosis and treatments, schedule a consultation today.