Is it possible to preserve fertility?
Time… An ally and an enemy, at the same time. It is true that time has to do more with women at any level, even at the level of fertility and maternity. The biological clock of a woman is not necessarily ticking along with the decision of a pregnancy. No one can dispute that a woman can only have children up to a certain age, so there is, indeed, a biological limit beyond which childbearing is more difficult or impossible.
The preservation of the dream to be a mother goes along with the fertility preservation for many women who become mothers under certain circumstances or must postpone it for their own personal reasons. Egg cryopreservation now offers a way out for these women.
What exactly is egg cryopreservation?
This is an innovative service that provides women with the opportunity to “freeze” time and choose when to become mothers. Egg cryopreservation is an opportunity for any woman who want to preserve her ability to have children later in life. By freezing eggs, a woman can use her own eggs when she is ready to become a mother.
What is the best age to do cryopreservation?
The younger the woman, the better the quality of the eggs that will be taken and the more chances there will be for a future pregnancy. The ideal age is between 25 and 36 years. The sooner, then, the better.
In which cases is cryopreservation indicated?
Women with certain diseases, disorders and life events that affect fertility can benefit from maintaining fertility. These include women who:
- Wish or are required to delay having children in order to fulfill educational, professional or other personal goals
- Have been exposed to toxic chemicals in the workplace
- Have endometriosis or uterine fibroids
- Are going to be treated for cancer
- Are going to be treated for an autoimmune disease like wolf
- Have a genetic disease that affects future fertility
- Have a family history of premature menopause
How long does the process take and what exactly does it involve?
The whole procedure lasts from 8 to 14 days and includes ultrasounds and blood tests every 2-3 days, while after egg collection, once the eggs have matured enough, they are removed with a needle that is inserted through the vagina under ultrasound guidance, which lasts about 15 to 30 minutes and performed under intoxication. After the procedure, the women return to their activities even the same day.
How is the process done?
Egg freezing is performed by taking medication to stimulate the ovaries and collect as many eggs as possible following the same procedure as in an IVF attempt. The procedure involves the woman’s ovaries hormonal stimulation and is followed by taking of eggs vaginally with the help of ultrasound.
The number of eggs, when it comes to in vitro fertilization cycles, according to scientific studies, is directly related to pregnancy success rates: the more eggs, the higher the success rates.
Through the stimulation of the ovaries more follicles develop. During a menstrual cycle a dominant follicle develops and the rest of the existing small follicles are degenerated or destroyed.
After egg retrieval, the eggs are not fertilized by the semen, nor is the embryo transferred. The eggs are collected, frozen and cryopreserved until their fertilization is requested. The mature eggs obtained during ovulation are frozen by the vitrification method and kept in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196oC.
When the fertilization can be performed
At the time the woman wishes, even several years later, the eggs are thawed and fertilized by micro-fertilization, either with the semen of the husband/ partner or with donor sperm. Then, the culture of the embryos in the laboratory for 2-5 days is followed, with the process to be completed, by transferring the embryos to the uterus.
How effective and safe is the egg freezing method?
All the studies that have been done after the introduction of egg vitrification, show that the quality of frozen eggs, their probability of fertilization and pregnancy rates are comparable to those of fresh eggs.
Many women wonder if this method is safe for their children, but also for themselves. The answer is yes and is based on studies conducted worldwide, and according to them the method is considered absolutely safe.
Egg freezing in Greece
Egg freezing in Greece is a fairly simple process, concluded in 10-14 days. According to the Greek legislation, egg freezing in Greece is permitted for 5 years, with the option of extending this period by another 5 years, and provided the woman has not reached the age of 50.
The sentimental aspect of the egg freezing
Science responds to the challenges and needs of young or older women by giving them the right and freedom to choose the right time to decide when they are ready to have a child, depending on their personal, economic, and social situation. Egg freezing can also be seen as a smart precaution move against future situations that may prevent a woman’s dream of becoming a mother. Egg cryopreservation is not a necessity, it is a choice that takes women and society one step further.