What's involved?

Egg freezing is a method to preserve your fertility that’s relatively straightforward and takes approximately two weeks.

Every month in a natural ovulatory cycle, a woman will have a number of follicles - the fluid filled cysts that contain eggs. In a normal ovulatory cycle, lots of follicles will begin to develop but with the amount of stimulating hormone produced naturally by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, only one dominant follicle will grow and ovulate.

With egg freezing, a woman gives herself a much better chance of future success if we freeze a reasonable amount of eggs, so we augment and control the natural process of ovulation through a series of injections of the same hormone produced naturally but at a higher dose.

It usually takes approximately 10 days for follicles to develop to the stage where they are ready to be collected. Ovulation is then triggered and eggs are collected under ultrasound guidance. This procedure takes approximately 10-20 minutes and is usually performed using light sedation and local anaesthetic so you remain awake during the procedure and recover more quickly. It can be performed under general anaesthetic if required.

The eggs are then frozen using an advanced method called vitrification - essentially snap freezing – and stored until you are ready to use them. Frozen eggs can be stored for many years.

Genea egg freezing process

Genea egg freezing snowflake imageThe Technology

As part of our commitment to developing and using world leading fertility technology, Genea was the first clinic in Australasia to develop and routinely replace the old slow freezing method for embryos and eggs with the more efficient and successful vitrification process. The technology virtually eliminates the risk for ice crystals forming in the egg during the freezing process. This is important because the egg cell, the largest in the human is filled with fluid and is very delicate. We’ve been vitrifying embryos and eggs routinely since February 2006 but some clinics still use the outdated slow freeze method.
 
When you are ready to use your eggs, they are warmed and used in either a standard IVF cycle or possibly through a procedure called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) which is when a single sperm is injected into each egg in an attempt to fertilise them. The normally fertilised oocytes will then need to develop into embryos that are suitable for transfer in order to achieve a pregnancy.