Egg freezing is a method of fertility preservation. The process is identical to in vitro fertilization except that the eggs are frozen by a process called “vitrification” instead of fertilized. The eggs can be stored indefinitely and the prognosis for pregnancy is determined by the patient’s age, medical history, vitrification methods and clinic success rates.
Data regarding success rates for own eggs are limited since most women who freeze their eggs do so to preserve fertility for the future and do not return for many years to use these eggs. A rigorous quality assurance program therefore is important to achieve the best IVF success rates using proven techniques.
When the eggs are thawed they must be fertilized using ICSI. IVF success rates with egg freezing vary according to patient age at freezing, technique, history and clinic success rates.
Both the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) lifted the “experimental” label for egg freezing in 2013. Egg freezing has the best success rates when done before age 35. However, it can be done up to age 38 and on a case by case basis beyond age 38.
Egg freezing does not guarantee pregnancy. However, the technique has advanced significantly in the last decade as demonstrated by frozen donor egg IVF success rates.
Egg freezing must be carefully considered in accordance with ones circumstances and goals.
- Elective egg freezing: the goal is to store fertility potential for later
- Fertility preservation prior to chemotherapy or other egg damaging treatment
- Frozen donor eggs
- Collecting eggs from multiple cycles for use with limited sperm availability