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10
April
2020

How does egg freezing works and its benefits

Author Name: Dr. Rohini Patange || Mentor Name: Dr. Jyoti Gupta on April 10, 2020

Over last few decades world has progressed to many changes in human reproductive technology. A social trend has been observed in delaying the child bearing in women of reproductive age. This has led to increase in cases of infertility in these couples and use of Artificial Reproductive Technology i.e IVF for achieving pregnancy. Women today must know that even if they are not ready for babies right now due to medical problems,career,finances,or a whole host of other reasons,egg freezing can help them make more empowered choices in their lives. Globally,over 2000 babies have been born thanks to egg freezing.

Egg freezing is a new technology also known as oocyte cryopreservation, where woman’s eggs are extracted,frozen and
stored. Later whenever the woman plans her pregnancy these stored eggs are warmed,fertilized and transferred to the uterus.Egg freezing gives woman a chance to insure motherhood,they don’t have to compromise because their biological clock is ticking. With the development of successful egg freezing technologies doors have opened to a new medical and societal phenomenon of oocyte freezing to avoid age related infertility.

Actual process:
An egg freezing cycle is similar to first part of any IVF cycle.It involves woman to take daily hormonal injections.This stimulates the ovaries to produce good number of eggs. Here,the important factor is the age of woman and her ovarian reserve,early reproductive age and good ovarian reserve gives multiple eggs along with good results. After 10 – 12 doses of injections,eggs are removed through a 10 minute procedure under short anaesthesia. After retrievel they are analysed and healthy ones are frozen,either by cooling slowly or by vitrification i.e rapid freezing.They are stored at-196 degrees,so that there is no decrease in quality over the period of time. They are frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored in the lab at a fertility centre,at a long term storage facility or at a frozen egg bank.

Whenever the woman wants to get pregnant,the frozen eggs are thawed using warming solutions and these eggs are fertilized with their husband’s sperm through injection.These fertilised eggs i.e embryos are cultured for three to five days and assessed for their quality.A good quality embryo is then transferred in the woman’s uterus through a catheter.Sperm and embryos are easy to freeze than human egg.Because human egg has more water,this results in formation of ice crystals during freezing and can damage the quality of eggs.However by advent of new technology of vitrification,the formation of ice crystals is prevented and also use of cryoprotectants prevent damage caused by ice crystals during freezing.

When should one freeze her egg?
The best age to freeze eggs is in late 20’s early 30’s in most fertile years. Because the quality and quantity of eggs that are collected, decides the success rate.As the age advances there is decrease in fertility potential of the egg and also more chromosomal abnormalities. Moreover,there are difficulties in freezing such eggs which cannot sustain freezing and thawing procedures.

Who might consider egg freezing?
Social pressure,economic instability,career opportunity and lack of partner are the major reasons for which the women wish to postpone their motherhood,these women can be benefited by egg freezing work.Freezing eggs give options to women who are focused on their careers but also want to have children in future. Social egg freezing
means to preserve and store a woman’s egg for purposes other than medical.

Initially The benefit of egg freezing work was started for those patients who suffered infertility due deleterious effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment taken for cancer.
Eventually With advent of this technique, proveda hope in social egg freezing.Freezing eggs also offers hope to women who are receiving treatment for serious illness that may reduce fertility.

Egg freezing success rates-
For a woman aged 35 or less,onestimulatedcyclemayresultin10- 12 eggs,out of which 7-9 maybe suitable for freezing and storage.
Approximately 80-90% eggssurvivewarminginfutureandoutof these50-80%fertilize form embryos.Success Rates Are lower for woman over 35 and egg freezing in woman aged more than 38 unlikely to have pregnancy.Thus the key factors for success of egg freezing are age of the woman,quality and quantity of eggs retrieved.

Benefits
– Today,a social trend in delaying marriages,motherhood is observed in women of reproductive age groups.This Delay Is due to different factors related to lifestyle such as development of professional career or absence of right partner.

As a result these women maybe affected by age related infertility when they decide to conceive.Here comes the role of egg freezing for the women. Social Egg freezing-until recently egg freezing was offered for only medical reasons,this medical innovation is now widely used through out the world by healthy fertile women who wishes to postpone motherhood for various reasons.

– Women with medical conditions like severe symptomatic endometriosis nyong with reduced fertility dueto reduced
ovarian reserve post-surgery,autoimmune diseases requiring gonadotoxic treatment are also benefited from egg freezing work.
– Womenatrisk Of Early Menopause
– Low responders-allowing the storage and accumulation of oocytes from multiple stimulation before IVF.
– Emergency egg freezing– as a backup technique for patients with unexpectedly no available sperm on the day of oocyte retrieval for IVF.
Thus egg freezing is established technology with a wide range of
benefits that will prove beneficial to many patients in the future.

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