As awareness around egg freezing continues to grow and global media attention of the technology expands, an increasing number of women are seeking the treatment as a method to preserve their ability to bear children. Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is ideal for women who have chosen to delay motherhood due to career, education or lifestyle choices, and for women who have yet to meet their life partner to share childbirth with. Women now have the ability to make personal choices regarding their fertility by selecting egg freezing as a means of securing their future potential for motherhood.
In addition to egg freezing for elective indications, women might consider egg freezing for medical indications if they have recently been diagnosed with an illness such as cancer. Because medical treatments including chemotherapy or radiotherapy may adversely affect the reproductive system, egg freezing has been found to be a viable option for women by oncologists and reproductive specialists alike. Women may also undergo egg freezing treatments due to family histories of endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, or early menopause.
Because the number of viable eggs decreases dramatically as a woman ages (commonly known as atresia), women may want to increase their chances of conceiving a child later in life by storing their viable eggs as early as possible. Female fertility peaks in the early to mid-20s and declines steadily until around age 35, when the rate drops even further as a woman’s age increases. Risks of chromosomal abnormalities in offspring also increase with the age of a mother’s eggs. For this reason, it is best to use younger eggs for implantation rather than fresh older eggs.
Advanced cryopreservation technology, called “vitrification,” has revolutionized the ability to freeze and ultimately to successfully thaw frozen eggs. In vitrification, rapid cooling rates spare the egg from forming ice crystals within, and as a result, they are less likely to fracture upon thawing. While many of the eggs retrieved will be “mature” and thus “ready for fertilization,” there are often some retrieved that are “immature” and are called Germinal Vesicle (GV) or MI eggs. If upon culture with specialized media these eggs are able to be matured, they are then cryopreserved with the other mature eggs.
Currently, vitrification is the preferred method of choice to freeze the eggs and embryos at different stages of growth in the laboratory because it consistently results in high embryo survival rates. Also effective is the “slow-freezing” process for egg preservation, which is a proven method and has resulted in numerous healthy deliveries. In our center, vitrification has been shown to be extremely successful and has resulted in survival of well over 90% of eggs frozen.
RMA of New York’s team of expert reproductive endocrinologists have received international accolades for patient care and outcomes for performing egg freezing procedures, as well as for significant contributions toward the advancement of infertility therapies, IVF and egg freezing success rates. RMA of New York’s Complementary Care services include psychological support, which is recommended to each patient progressing with egg freezing.
RMA of New York’s Laboratory Director Marlena Duke, MSc, ELD, leads a team of skilled embryologists who utilize the most cutting-edge, advanced techniques available today. The team at RMA of New York offers patients a full range of fertility treatments provided by an experienced and caring staff to help achieve the dream of building a family.
Although thousands of babies have been born using cryopreservation methods worldwide, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) only recently (on October 22, 2012) lifted their “experimental” label for egg freezing. After reviewing numerous studies, the governing board of the ASRM determined that frozen and thawed oocytes were just as effective as fresh eggs used in in vitro fertilization. Additionally, they found no increased risk of birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities when women used frozen eggs. Moreover, children born from frozen embryos were no different from children born from non-frozen embryos and freezing is not associated with genetic abnormalities. In fact, abnormalities do not occur when few cells are missing in an embryo due to thawing.
An RMA of New York physician can help you understand how egg freezing works, the potential risks and whether this method of fertility preservation is right for you. To inquire about RMA of New York’s egg freezing services, please ask for the egg freezing coordinator at 212-756-5777.
RMA of New York physicians are regularly featured in the media speaking about egg freezing. View our latest here:
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