Age affects female fertility, with a faster decline in egg quantity and quality at approximately age 35. Many women are not ready to build a family during their peak reproductive potential. Egg freezing allows women to preserve their eggs and use them later on in life when they may have more trouble conceiving.
In addition, women over 35 have an increased risk of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities in their children as a result of age-dependent changes in egg quality. The optimal time to preserve eggs is before 35, but it is still possible to freeze eggs after this age. Time is of the essence, please contact us to schedule a fertility evaluation and consultation.
When a woman uses her frozen eggs, even if a number of years have passed, both the pregnancy rates and the incidence of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities is based on the age of the woman when the eggs were frozen, not her age when she uses the eggs.
There are a number of reasons individuals would choose to freeze their eggs, including:
It is important to know that egg freezing does not take away from your future ovarian reserve. Fertility preservation works by utilizing the eggs that would have otherwise been discarded by the ovaries during a particular cycle.
Vitrification, or ‘fast freezing,’ uses a cell culture system that protects eggs from injury during egg freezing. This technology enables us to freeze mature eggs while eliminating the risk of damaging ice crystal formation within the egg. By applying new advances in cryopreservation, many groups, including our own, have realized a sharp increase in survival rates of eggs once thawed (over 90%). Improvements in egg freezing technology have led to excellent success rates, especially in women who froze eggs under the age of 35.
Prior to starting a treatment cycle, you will complete a consultation with one of our providers to discuss the process, review your medical history, and make sure you are a good candidate egg preservation. An initial work up will be done to assess your ovarian reserve and typically includes:
These tests will help your physician come up with a treatment protocol that is tailored to you, and determine how much medication will be required.
An egg freezing cycle can take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks to complete depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle when you are ready to begin treatment. Your physician may recommend the use of oral contraceptive pills at the start of your treatment; however, protocols without the use of birth control may also be considered.
The egg retrieval procedure is performed in our OR suite that is located in the same office as our Honolulu clinic. You will undergo anesthesia and the procedure will take ~30 minutes. On average most patients are in the office for 3 hours that day (including surgery prep and recovery) and are ready to be discharged home ~1 hour following the procedure. Downtime will include the day of the procedure, and most individuals are able to return to the normal activities within a few days. You may have some light spotting, bleeding and/or period like cramping, but most patients are able to go back to their normal activities (including work) the following day.
Whether you wish to freeze your eggs for a medical or personal indication, the physicians at the Fertility Institute of Hawaii can answer your questions and guide you through the process. For more information concerning fertility preservation options, please contact our office at 808-545-2800.
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