Egg freezing is a fertility service that allows women to preserve their eggs for medical or elective reasons. Preserving eggs while they are still young and healthy can enable women to start a family when she is ready.
Egg freezing is an effective treatment, but many people are unaware of what the process entails.
At Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health in Scottsdale, AZ, and Gilbert, AZ, we provide an overview of the egg freezing process timeline so that patients have a better idea of how long the process takes, and what they can expect at each stage of treatment.
The egg freezing process timeline is similar to the IVF treatment timeline. We start the process with ovarian stimulation so that multiple mature eggs are ready for egg retrieval. After the egg retrieval procedure, the eggs are cryogenically preserved, so that they are ready for future use. From the start of ovarian stimulation to the time the eggs are frozen takes about two weeks.
The first stage of the egg freezing process timeline is ovarian stimulation. Ovarian stimulation encourages the production of multiple mature eggs, while also allowing our doctors to control and time ovulation so that we can successfully plan egg retrieval. This stage of treatment involves injections of fertility medications. When the eggs are ready, patients will receive a “trigger shot,” which starts ovulation.
Egg retrieval is timed to coincide with ovulation. Egg retrieval is usually scheduled between 10 and 12 days after ovarian stimulation begins and within 36 hours of the trigger shot. Egg retrieval is minimally invasive, requires no cuts or stitches, and is generally completed in about 15 minutes. Furthermore, we use anesthesia to ensure patient comfort throughout.
During egg retrieval, we use ultrasound to guide a thin needle and catheter through the vaginal wall. Using suction, we draw each individual egg into the catheter and retrieve them from the body. When all eggs have been collected, the needle is removed and the procedure is complete.
Retrieved eggs are immediately passed on to our embryologist. Eggs will be individually placed in test tubes that are labeled with the patient’s name and a unique identifying number. On the same day of retrieval, collected eggs are frozen. The eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen at temperatures that prevent cellular activity. This preserves the eggs so that our patients can use them at a future time.
When a woman is ready to conceive, she will coordinate treatment with our fertility specialists. Like the freezing process, using frozen eggs requires several stages of treatment. The patient will take fertility medication to prepare her body for implantation, eggs will be thawed and fertilized, and, finally, selected embryos will be transferred.
At Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health, we offer a wide range of fertility services. If you are interested in learning more about the egg freezing process or any of the other treatments we provide, send us a message at your earliest convenience or call us at (480) 681-1754.