Egg (Oocyte) freezing
Step 1: Initial Consultation
The first step toward fertility preservation through egg freezing is to meet with one of our fertility specialists to review your medical history and provide a comprehensive overview about your egg freezing options.
Step 2: Testing Ovarian Reserve
Ovarian reserve testing is performed on the 3rd day of your menstrual cycle. The two tests we use to determine ovarian reserve are:
Antral follicle count (AFC) via ultrasound. The antral follicles are the 2-10mm fluid sacs within the ovary that represent the next wave of ovulation and can be visualized on a day 3 transvaginal ultrasound. In general, the more antral follicles we visualize, the better prognosis for the patient.
Day 3 blood work. Measures FSH, Estradiol, LH, Prolactin and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Higher than normal levels of FSH indicate a potentially reduced fertility potential.
Both the ultrasound and bloodwork are excellent indicators of fertility potential but combined they complement each other in helping us more accurately predict outcomes and protocols for our patients.
Step 3: Cycle Prep
On day 3 of the same menstrual cycle as your ovarian reserve testing, or any subsequent cycle, you will begin taking birth control pills and continue for approximately 21 days.
Step 4: Ovarian Stimulation
Each woman receives medications tailored to her age, history, antral follicle count and hormone levels to stimulate the optimal growth of many eggs in one cycle rather than the usual one egg per cycle.
Step 5: Egg Retrieval
After appropriate monitoring by ultrasound and blood estrogen levels, an ultrasound-guided egg aspiration from both ovaries is scheduled in under light intravenous sedation. The 15-20 minute egg retrieval process is painless.
Step 6: Egg Preparation
In the embryology laboratory the eggs are identified under the microscope and withdrawn from their fluid in preparation for freezing.
Step 7: Egg Vitrification
The embryologist places the eggs in special solutions to remove the water from the eggs and then bathe them in protectant solutions during the freezing process known as vitrification.
Step 7: Storage
Cryopreserved eggs are securely stored in sealed, uniquely identified cyro-vials filled with liquid nitrogen. These vials are placed in our storage tank under strict laboratory conditions until needed.