Elective Oocyte (Egg) Freezing
Vitrification is a recent advance in egg freezing. This process involves rapidly freezing the eggs into a solid state before ice crystal formation which can damage the eggs. This technique has made possible the potential preservation of fertility in women, thus allowing women to freeze their eggs for possible future use. This process is the same as for IVF except that shortly after the time of retrieval the eggs are vitrified rather than fertilized.
This is a relatively new technology so the program’s success rates are not available to date. We know from experience with our vitrified donor egg program that excellent pregnancy rates can be obtained from freezing eggs from young women for use in donor egg IVF cycles. The best results will therefore be obtained in younger women preferably under 35 years old. The costs and potential complications are the same as IVF other than a lower risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome as a pregnancy will not ensue after egg retrieval (the main trigger for hyperstimulation syndrome). There is no guarantee of a successful pregnancy and it is possible the eggs may not survive the freezing process.
Some patients undergoing IVF treatment with excess eggs, who do not wish to freeze embryos for ethical or religious considerations, may vitrify the eggs for potential use in future IVF fertility treatment. This option should be discussed with your physician prior to IVF treatment.