At CCRM, we freeze and thaw eggs, and then fertilize them with in vitro fertilization (IVF) when you are ready to have a baby. This is all performed under one roof and on your timeline. As a leader in fertility treatment for more than 30 years, CCRM can help you preserve your fertility now and will be there when you want to conceive later.
Why You Should Freeze Your Eggs
When it comes to fertility, age matters. As you get older, your eggs diminish in numbers and in quality making it more difficult to conceive or maintain a pregnancy. This change occurs at different rates in different women but does occur in everyone no matter how healthy you may be otherwise.
By the time you reach your late 30s, about half of your eggs will be chromosomally abnormal (too few or too many chromosomes). These chromosomal abnormalities often lead to failed implantation or miscarriage. Unfortunately, by the time you reach your 40s, you only have a 5% chance for becoming pregnant each month.
For women who are not ready to conceive but wish to try to preserve fertility for the future, freezing your eggs in your 20s and 30s allows you to take advantage of your body’s fertility at a time when your eggs are at their healthiest.
What is the Egg Freezing Process?
Step 1: Fertility Assessment
First, you will meet with your CCRM doctor to discuss your medical history, as well as your needs and expectations. On the third day of your period, you will have blood work to assess hormonal function which reflects your current fertility status (“ovarian reserve”) and a vaginal ultrasound performed to make sure that there are no structural abnormalities and to let us know how many eggs we may be able to retrieve. The results of these tests will allow your fertility specialist to assess your current fertility potential and to develop your personalized treatment plan.
Step 2: Ovarian Stimulation
Next, you will give yourself hormone injections to stimulate your ovaries to produce as many eggs as possible (the number should be reflected by your initial ultrasound evaluation). During this process, you will need to come to our office every few days to receive regular monitoring (ultrasound and blood work) to assess your response to the medications and to see if doses need adjusting. When your eggs have matured, your doctor will inform you that it is time to trigger the final stage of maturation and start the ovulation process (the release of your eggs) using a different injectable medication. Your eggs will be retrieved as described below.
During stimulation you will need to avoid any exercise that is jarring to your pelvis in order to protect your ovaries, which will increase in size as the follicles (cysts that contain the eggs) also grow, as well as avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, medications and many herbal supplements. Your doctor or nurse will discuss what medications and levels of activity are safe for you to take during stimulation.
During stimulation you may experience symptoms similar to what you are accustomed to experiencing during your regular monthly menstruation including: fatigue, headaches, bloating, breast tenderness, cramping and mood swings.
Step 3: Egg Retrieval
Thirty-five hours after the “trigger shot,” your doctor will collect your eggs during a minor surgical procedure which is performed while you are under anesthesia, by placing a needle through the wall of your vagina into the follicles under ultrasound guidance. The day of the procedure, you will need a caregiver to drive you home and to stay with you for the rest of the day as the anesthesia wears off.
For a few days following your retrieval, you may be bloated and experience cramping and mild discomfort. You will be able to return to work within 24-48 hours following your retrieval and you will feel completely “back to normal” following your next period. We ask that you refrain from exercising until after the next period starts.
Step 4: Egg Freezing
Once your eggs have been successfully retrieved, all mature eggs will be vitrified (rapidly frozen) and stored securely until you’re ready to use them. The embryologist will let you know how many mature, healthy eggs have been frozen.
The entire process to prepare for egg freezing and to retrieve the eggs generally takes 2-3 weeks for mosts patients, but it can vary depending on the specifics of your situation.
Where You Freeze Your Eggs Matters
If you’re going to pause your biological clock, do it with a clinic that is a global leader in fertility treatment.
All fertility clinics are not created equal. Before choosing an egg freezing clinic, visit the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) website. All SART–member fertility clinics are required to report success rates in a standardized manner and requires its members to adhere to strict practice, advertising and ethical guidelines. Remember, not all clinics are SART members and, therefore, do not have to adhere to these guidelines!
Since your eventual goal is to have a baby someday, it’s important to make sure that you know that the clinic that you choose not only is able to freeze eggs, but has reported success after eggs are thawed.
Why Choose CCRM?
Science: What differentiates CCRM from other fertility providers is rooted in a deep commitment to consistently investing in new proprietary technology and scientific techniques that translates into superior outcomes and a family’s fastest path to a healthy baby.
Service: 97% of patients would recommend CCRM to family and friends.
Success: More than 50,000 babies have been born through fertility treatments at CCRM. We continually invest in our people, facilities, equipment and research to ensure we consistently maintain excellence in both success rates and patient satisfaction. You will be seen by caring and highly-skilled physicians in facilities that employ the latest technology resulting in consistently superior outcomes in all that we do.
Take a look at our frequently asked questions about Egg Freezing here: Egg Freezing FAQ