WHAT DOES IT CONSIST OF?
The ideal is to preserve the eggs before the age of 35, since it is at this age that the natural decline of the ovarian reserve begins.
However, even in women 38 or 39 it may be reasonable to vitrify eggs if they plan to delay motherhood for any reason. in fact, in this age group it is very likely that they will need to use them as spontaneous pregnancy wasn’t achieved as they get older. the gynaecologist will evaluate each case and will give a prognosis and individualized reproductive advice.
These days, more and more women are choosing to delay the age to start a family. Common reasons include the current pace of life, their work situation or the lack of a suitable partner.
However, as age increases, the chances of achieving a natural pregnancy decrease. This is because the quantity and quality of the oocytes (eggs) contained in the ovaries decreases with age, and we approach the age of 40 this decline is more pronounced.
Egg vitrification (freezing) has emerged in recent years as a method for fertility preservation. At our assisted reproduction clinic Ovoclinic you can decide to freeze your eggs so that you can decide when you want to become a mother, without the pressure of your biological clock.
GESTATION BY AGE
WHO IS IT FOR?
- Women who intend to delay their maternity beyond the age of 35, or who are forced to do so for work or financial reasons.
- Patients who must undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy. These treatments can cause damage to the ovarian follicles and reduce reproductive capacity.
- Invasive ovarian surgery that may lead to reduced fertility.
- Women with diminished ovarian reserve or genetic alterations that could decrease ovarian reserve in a few years.
HOW IS IT DONE?
First, the patient must administer subcutaneous injections of hormones similar to those produced by her own body. In a natural cycle, a woman produces a single egg. With ovarian stimulation the aim is to get several eggs, at least 10 to have a better chance of achieving an embryo to achieve a future pregnancy.
After approximately ten or twelve days of treatment, the extraction of the eggs is carried out by egg collection. The procedure usually does not last more than ten or fifteen minutes and is carried out in the operating room, using a light sedation.
The extracted eggs treated with cryoprotective substances that will prevent ice crystals from forming in their structure, which could damage them. Vitrification is a process of ultrafast freezing using liquid nitrogen. This process allows the patients’ eggs to be preserved indefinitely, keeping their properties intact for use in IVF treatment.
At Ovoclinic we are specialists in Egg vitrification and devitrification, given that we have been a benchmark egg bank for many years, so our survival rates of eggs after thawing are close to 100%.
Up to what age can I use a frozen egg?
In Spain there is no legal age limit, although it is established that it should be possible for the mother to carry out a pregnancy without problems for her or the baby. For this reason, the limit that is used in general is 50, although the professionals’ recommendation will be to not delay maternity, since the possibility of complications increases too with age.
How long can my eggs remain frozen?
With current vitrification techniques, the oocytes (eggs) are preserved intact indefinitely and they do not lose quality over time.
Will I lose ovarian reserve if I freeze my eggs?
No, each month the ovary recruits a group of follicles to mature. In a natural cycle, only one of them grows and ovulates, and the rest are lost. What we do with ovarian stimulation is to rescue those follicles that were going to be lost, so we are not “wasting” eggs from future cycles.
If I have cancer, when should I preserve my oocytes and how long does it take?
In general, preservation should be done before starting chemotherapy or gonadotoxic treatment. In many of these oncological processes, for example in breast cancer, there is a time lapse between the operation and the start of chemotherapy. This is the ideal time to carry out fertility preservation. In women with cancer, specific protocols are used to be able to start stimulation at any time during the cycle and thus make the most of this time. In general, we will have completed the treatment in a maximum of 15 days. Sometimes, if necessary, more than one cycle can be done to accumulate a greater number of oocytes.
If I have breast cancer, does ovarian stimulation for egg freezing increase my risk?
In hormone-dependent breast cancers there is always a fear of worsening the prognosis by performing ovarian stimulation. However, there are specific protocols to stimulate these patients that include anti-estrogenic agents such as letrozole. By using these drugs, the increase in oestradiol in the blood is very similar to that of a natural cycle.