Oocyte cryopreservation, or egg freezing, is indicated for women who want to preserve their reproductive potential to achieve pregnancy in the future.  Women diagnosed with cancer can cryopreserve their eggs before they undergo chemotherapy, surgery or radiation treatment.  Single women may choose to freeze eggs because they do not yet have a partner.  Women who desire to postpone childbearing for the purpose of education or career can freeze eggs while they are young. In addition, women with a family history of early menopause may wish to freeze eggs before their eggs are depleted at an early age.  Furthermore, couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization who do not consider embryo freezing as an option can elect to fertilize a percentage of the eggs retrieved and freeze the remaining unfertilized eggs.  Therefore, there are no excess embryos and no need for the couple to make complex decisions related to embryo management.

Frozen egg banks can be incorporated into donor egg programs, allowing an equitable number of eggs to be offered to recipient women needing donated eggs. Unlike traditional egg donation, there is no need to synchronize the egg donor’s cycle with that of the recipient’s.   When a recipient is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized by her partner’s (or donor) sperm, and transferred to the uterus (womb) as embryos.

In the fall of 2009, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issued an oocyte cryopreservation opinion that concluded that this technology holds “great promise for applications in oocyte donation and fertility preservation”.

Main Line Fertility Center (MLFC) offers a new technique called vitrification for freezing human eggs.  Compared to slow freezing protocols used in the past, this new technique appears to significantly improve egg survival.  Vitrification uses high concentrations of cryoprotectants along with ultra-rapid freezing rates to protect the delicate cell structure of the unfertilized egg.  Several pregnancies and healthy births already have been achieved at the MLFC using this new method.  MLFC has been awarded research grants and has obtained Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to continue developing this important technology. For information about our egg freezing study, contact Eileen Davies at 484-337-8955 or email her at daviese@mainlinefertility.com

If you have any questions about egg freezing please contact Sharon Anderson, PhD at email andersons@mainlinefertility.com