Egg freezing is another emerging technology. The advanced technique of freezing through vitrification (fast-freezing) has significantly increased fertilisation success rates. Egg freezing is a common procedure to preserve fertility in women who don’t anticipate motherhood in the near future or are not yet ready to have a family and wish to stop their biological clock from ticking. Egg freezing also gives women undergoing cancer treatment the opportunity to preserve their fertility. The egg freezing process includes Ovarian Stimulation and Oocyte Retrieval.
Gonadotropins are used to stimulate the growth of multiple ovarian follicles. During this process, we closely monitor the growth of the ovarian follicles by transvaginal ultrasound scans and blood tests.
Once the size of the follicles is optimal, a trigger injection is administered to induce ovulation and finalise oocyte maturation. Oocyte retrieval takes place 36 hours after the trigger injection is administered.
Oocyte retrieval (egg collection):
Egg collection is performed under transvaginal ultrasound guidance. A fine needle is advanced into the ovarian follicles through the vaginal wall. The fluid from all follicles inside both ovaries is aspirated and, then, examined by an embryologist to identify the eggs under the microscope. Next, any extracted eggs are placed in culture plates with nutrient media and, then, in the incubator. The whole procedure is performed under light sedation, and, generally, takes less than 10–15 minutes to complete.
Following egg collection, you will know the number of oocytes that are cryopreserved (frozen).
If later in life you decide to use your frozen oocytes, these will be thawed and fertilised by the sperm of your partner. Sperm Injection (ICSI) is applied to fertilise the eggs. ICSI involves the injection of a single sperm directly into the oocyte. The embryos will be cultured in the lab and, then, you will undergo embryotransfer. Surplus embryos may be frozen for future use.
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