IVF Plano Offers Elective Egg Freezing to Preserve Fertility
Many women dream of starting families and often think about when, not if, they will become mothers. Until recently, however, younger woman often felt caught between their desire to have children and the timing of their careers and finding the right partner.
As well, women with certain diseases may need medical treatment that can damage their fertility, so protecting their childbearing options is an important consideration. Dr. James Douglas now provides elective egg freezing as a viable choice for women who want to have children on their own timetables.
Understanding the Life Span of Female Fertility
Although a man continues to regularly generate new sperm, a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever produce, approximately 1 to 2 million. At puberty, only about 300,000 are left, and only a small percentage will become viable. For women, fertility peaks in their early 20s and declines as women get older, which often restricts the timeline for starting a family through natural methods.
The Evolution of Elective Egg Freezing
In the past, fertility preservation involving eggs was limited. Although sperm and embryos could be frozen, eggs were not good candidates for freezing. The high proportion of water in eggs and their delicate nature meant that the eggs often did not survive the traditional freezing and thawing process. A new fast-freezing process called vitrification is producing better results with oocyte freezing, and Dr. Douglas now offers egg freezing for fertility preservation. Ideally, women should consider preserving their eggs in their late 20s and early 30s.
How vitrification works
During this new process, the eggs are treated with cryoprotectants and sucrose, which removes extra water before freezing. With the ultra-rapid vitrification, the egg is frozen quickly, making it difficult for ice crystals to form. When the egg is frozen, the outer shell called the zona pellucida can harden and make fertilization more challenging. Because of this hardening, our embryologist will use intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI to inject the sperm directly into the egg to aid in the fertilization process.
Understanding the egg freezing process
Before suggesting vitrification, Dr. Douglas will complete a full fertility evaluation and review these results with you. Egg retrieval for fertility preservation is similar to the process that takes place with standard IVF:
- Dr. Douglas will prescribe fertility medication to regulate your cycle and prepare your ovaries to produce mature eggs. We will monitor your progress with blood tests and sonograms.
- Once the follicles are the right size, you will return to our fertility clinic for the egg retrieval, an outpatient procedure that involves light sedation. Using a vaginal sonogram as a guide, Dr. Douglas will carefully remove the eggs from the follicles
- The eggs will undergo vitrification, and you can arrange to have them stored until the time is right to create your family.
Consider egg freezing to slow down your biological clock
Take charge of your dreams. If you want to have options for building your family, contact our Plano fertility clinic and schedule an appointment with Dr. Douglas. He can answer your questions and explain the elective egg freezing process so that you can make informed decisions about your fertility preservation options.