When the eggs are frozen, the biological clock stops and the age of the egg remains the same as the age of the woman when the freezing process took place; Therefore, the age of the eggs at the time of freezing is the most important factor affecting the success of this technique.
The more freezing takes place before the age of 35, the greater the chances of a successful pregnancy from the frozen eggs.
Pregnancy rates for women in normal cases remain high until their mid-thirties, to begin to decline after this age, and the pace of their decline accelerates until they reach the age of 43.
The age and validity of eggs for a woman is much less than the age and validity of sperms for a man, so that the ability of most women to produce eggs after the age of forty decreases, while most men can have children beyond this age by more than twenty years.
In addition, advancing age affects the quality of the egg, which justifies repeated miscarriages and congenital malformations that can occur if pregnancy occurs after the age of 35.
As a woman approaches menopause, the chances of pregnancy decrease due to the decrease in the number of eggs that begins at the age of 35, and their quality is affected as well, and thus the chances of pregnancy decrease, and this results in an involuntary abortion or a birth defect in the child.
Therefore, doctors unanimously agree that the best age for egg preservation and freezing for a woman is from her early to mid-30s.
When a woman uses her frozen eggs in the future, pregnancy rates, miscarriages, and genetic abnormalities depend on the woman’s age when the eggs were frozen, not her age when the eggs were used.
It is known that a woman’s fertility and her ability to become pregnant and have children depend on eggs that naturally decline with age and their quality decreases, or it may decline for some medical reason at an early age, such as cancer and undergoing chemotherapy that destroys eggs.
One of the reasons is also for women to suffer premature ovarian failure, which is meant here to reach menopause, but at an early age.
These cases call for freezing the eggs for later use, whereby the woman can have children, despite the existence of something that prevents her from doing so.
What is the Eggs Freezing (Oocyte Cryopreservation)?
Egg freezing or what is scientifically known with oocyte cryopreservation is a process in which a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen, and stored to preserve the reproductive capacity of women of childbearing age. Eggs obtained from the ovaries without fertilization are frozen and stored for later use. The frozen egg can be thawed and combined with sperm in a laboratory and then implanted into the uterus. The steps of egg freezing in its infancy are no different from the process of IVF, and they are as follows:
Step one: prepare for your period
The doctor sets a timetable for the freezing of the eggs, in coordination with the woman, before the start of the menstrual cycle.
Sometimes the woman is given pills to regulate the menstrual cycle and determine the exact date of ovulation, for a period of about three weeks.
At this stage, some laboratory tests to measure hormone levels and pelvic ultrasound are required in order to assess the ovarian reserve and estimate the number and quality of eggs before the ovarian stimulation cycle.
The doctor examines the ovarian reserve to determine the number and quality of eggs by checking the concentration of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol in the blood, on the third day of the menstrual cycle.
The results can help predict how the ovaries will respond to fertility drugs.
Step Two: Stimulating the ovaries
The woman needs an injection to stimulate the ovary. Most of the time, it is an injection into the abdomen under the skin.
It is easy and a woman can do it on her own for a period of approximately 9 to 14 days, depending on what is needed; During this period, the woman must visit the doctor constantly to monitor the growth of eggs through the vaginal ultrasound of the married woman and the “Echo” of the abdomen of the girl.
Once the eggs reach maturity, the doctor sets the date for the egg retrieval.
Step Three: Eggs retrieval and freezing process
The actual egg retrieval process takes between 10 to 15 minutes.
The woman is subjected to light intravenous anesthesia, then the eggs and the surrounding fluid are withdrawn into the ovarian sacs using a long, thin needle attached to a thin probe of the vaginal sonar, while preserving the virginity of the girl.
After the egg retrieval process, the woman rests for one day at home, to return to her normal activities the next day.
Step Four: Eggs Freezing
Once the eggs are collected, they are transferred to the IVF laboratory to assess their maturity, as it is normal and expected that not all of the collected eggs will mature.
A technician specialized in embryology evaluates the maturity of the eggs and selects the good ones.
The mature eggs are cryopreserved, the preferred method, by very rapid cooling by freezing them in liquid nitrogen as part of a process called “vitrification” that greatly increases the rate of preservation of the eggs.
The patient is informed of the final number of frozen eggs two or three hours after collection.
Vitrification is an ultra-fast freezing technique used in IVF laboratories that involves the rapid and intense removal of water molecules from the egg cell, reducing the risk of ice formation when immersed in liquid nitrogen, the material used for freezing.
This technological breakthrough has greatly improved the reproductive success of eggs freezing.
The preferred number for freezing eggs to ensure obtaining a child later is approximately 15 frozen eggs, and in the event that this number is not obtained, the woman must undergo the same process again.
What are the Reasons for Eggs Freezing?
Women can resort to eggs freezing in some cases, including:
Health reasons and treatments that can affect fertility, such as cancer and the required chemotherapy and radiation that eliminate the chance of pregnancy in the future, in addition to some autoimmune diseases such as lupus…
Social reasons, i.e. old age and a decline in the chances of a natural pregnancy, so she resorts to keeping the eggs at a younger age, to use them when she is ready.
Some women have a family history of reaching menopause at an early age when the egg stock decreases, so they store the eggs for future use.
The Use of Frozen Eggs in the Future
Frozen eggs can be stored for as long as a woman desires, as long as storage conditions are appropriate, and experts say a woman can keep her eggs frozen for more than 10 years. When the woman is ready for pregnancy, these cryopreserved eggs are placed in a heating solution and evaluated for adequacy.
The doctor then fertilizes the eggs that have survived the freezing process with a sperm injection, where a single sperm is injected directly into the egg and the fertilized eggs grow in the laboratory until The fetus is ready to be transferred to the uterus to achieve pregnancy, usually 3 to 5 days after fertilization.