As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research-related information. The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey. Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….
How long can my eggs stay frozen?
Egg cryopreservation is the process of freezing a woman’s eggs for future use. The first human born from a frozen egg/embryo was in 1986. The first technique to freeze eggs was slow freezing which allows the egg/embryo to freeze at a slow rate to minimize ice formation within the cell. In the early 2000’s a process called vitrification became more popular as it gave better outcomes. Vitrification is a process where freezing happens very quickly allowing solidification of the cells into a glass-like structure and does not allow ice to form. Vitrification has increased the survival rates of oocytes/embryos that have been frozen. (Laura Rienzi, et al. Human Reproduction Update. Vol 23, 2017 March-April; Issue 2: pages 139-155). The process of freezing eggs has become increasingly more popular in the last decade. There are many different reasons someone may choose to freeze their eggs including fertility preservation, freezing eggs prior to cancer treatment or hormone therapy, and donating their eggs.
Many questions arise when patients have decided to freeze their eggs. One of the most common questions from patients is: How long can my eggs stay frozen? Does the length they are frozen affect the chance of having a live birth when the eggs are used? A recent study looked at this question. (Grace Elizabeth Whiteley, DO, et al. Fertility and Sterility. Vol 116, 2021 September; Issue 3: E9). They compared eggs that had been frozen for 1, 2, 3, 4 and >5 years. The comparative study concluded that the duration of oocyte vitrification has no impact on live birth rate. This means that if you freeze your eggs and do not use them for 5 years the chance of pregnancy does not change. This is great news for patients that are not ready to have a family but feel their “biological clock” is ticking. It is also great for cancer patients that may need to take some time to heal after treatment prior to becoming pregnant.
For more information regarding evaluation and treatment options that are available, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers at the Fertility Institute of Hawaii 808-545-2800 or visit our website at https://www.ivfcenterhawaii.com