Amidst her fellowship in her early 30s, CCRM Minneapolis physician Dr. April Batcheller knew it would be years before she and her husband would be ready for a family. After seeing many patients in their 30s and 40s struggle with low ovarian reserve, she began to question her own fertility and decided it was in her best interest to undergo a fertility assessment.
Through testing, Dr. Batcheller found out her ovarian reserve was below normal, which could greatly diminish her chance at a successful pregnancy. Knowing she could potentially struggle to get pregnant in the future, she decided to retrieve her eggs and froze eight fertilized eggs (zygotes) for future use. When she and her husband are ready to start a family, the zygotes will be thawed and ready to implant via in vitro fertilization (IVF).
“Single women and couples interested in delaying a family should take a proactive approach,” said Dr. Batcheller. “A good first step is to undergo a fertility assessment. Depending on the results, it might also make sense to do egg freezing or zygote/embryo freezing. It’s a nice insurance policy that bring people piece of mind.”
What does the egg freezing process entail?
The fertility preservation process begins with a consultation with a CCRM physician, which includes an in-depth discussion of the patient’s needs and the processes involved. Blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound are performed during this appointment to assess the number of eggs in the ovaries.
Each patient has an individualized medication protocol. The purpose of the medications taken during treatment is to safely stimulate the ovaries to produce more mature eggs than are produced in a natural cycle. Ovarian stimulation takes approximately two weeks. At a time determined by the physician, the patient undergoes the egg retrieval procedure. The retrieved eggs are then frozen using a vitrification (freezing) process. If the patient wishes to freeze embryos, the eggs are fertilized after retrieval.
Our egg freezing success rates
CCRM has completed egg freezing cycles on more than 500 women. Although many of the eggs are frozen for long term storage and fertility preservation, more than 300 egg thawing cycles have been completed with an oocyte survival rate of greater than 90%. The pregnancy rate following egg thawing, fertilization, and embryo transfer is 74.0% with a live birth rate per embryo transfer of 64.3% as of September 2014.