Egg Freezing

Egg Freezing

Egg Freezing

A woman's fertility declines and the risk of pregnancy loss increases with advancing age. Advanced maternal age is associated with a higher likelihood of fetal defects compared to younger pregnant women. In addition to age, a woman's quantity and quality of eggs can diminish due to factors such as underlying health conditions, medications (e.g. chemotherapy), and surgeries (e.g. ovarian cyst removal).

 

Who needs to consider egg freezing?

Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a fertility preservation option for individuals who wish to delay childbearing.

Egg freezing may be considered by:

  1. Women who wish to delay childbearing due to personal or professional reasons, such as pursuing education or career goals, or waiting for the right partner.
  2. Women who are diagnosed with a medical condition that could affect fertility, such as cancer or a genetic disorder, and need to undergo treatments that may negatively impact their fertility.
  3. Women undergoing fertility treatments, such as IVF, who produce a large number of eggs and wish to preserve their eggs for future use.
  4. Women with a family history of early menopause or premature ovarian failure.
  5. Women who are planning to undergo gender reassignment surgery and wish to preserve their fertility before starting hormone therapy.

 

Egg freezing process:

Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a method of fertility preservation that involves the retrieval and freezing of a woman's eggs for later use. The entire process takes about 2-3 weeks, depending on how the ovaries respond to the medications.

This procedure is typically performed as part of an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycle, and involves several steps:

  1. Ovarian stimulation: Medications are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. This is typically done through a series of injections over the course of several days.
  2. Egg retrieval: Once the eggs have matured, they are retrieved from the ovaries using a needle guided by ultrasound. This is typically done under sedation or anaesthesia to minimize discomfort.
  3. Egg freezing: The retrieved eggs are then frozen using a process called vitrification, which involves rapidly cooling the eggs to prevent the formation of ice crystals that can damage the eggs.
  4. Storage: The frozen eggs are stored in a specialized facility, typically in liquid nitrogen, until they are needed.
  5. Thawing and fertilization: When the woman is ready to use the eggs, they are thawed and fertilized in the laboratory using a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in which a single sperm is injected directly into the egg.
  6. Embryo transfer: After fertilization, the resulting embryos are transferred into the woman's uterus in a procedure similar to traditional IVF.

 

When is the best timing for egg freezing?

The best timing for egg freezing depends on several factors, including your age, fertility status, and future fertility goals.

In general, women are born with a fixed number of eggs, and the quality and quantity of eggs decline as they age. Therefore, the younger a woman is when she freezes her eggs, the higher the chance of success when using those eggs in the future.

It is recommended that women consider freezing their eggs before the age of 35, as the quality and quantity of eggs start to decline rapidly after this age. However, the optimal age for egg freezing may vary depending on individual circumstances, such as medical history, fertility status, and future fertility goals.

 

How long can the frozen eggs be stored?

With the advancements in oocyte cryopreservation techniques, modern women have the option to freeze their eggs at a young and optimal age for future pregnancy planning. However, it is important to note that eggs can only be stored for a maximum of 10 years in Hong Kong (or till 55 years old for cancer patients, for whichever is the longest duration). Therefore, it is advised that women should not undergo egg freezing too early or too late. 

For women who aspire to become mothers, freezing eggs can be considered as a proactive way of securing reproductivity. When the woman is ready for pregnancy in the future, the stored eggs can be thawed and used for in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

 

Package price

Egg freezing package

 

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Patient Journey of Egg Freezing treatment

Initial Consultation

You will meet with us for an initial consultation. Together, you will discuss your medical history, and any necessary preliminary tests and examinations will be arranged. 

Counselling

Our attending doctors and nurses offer counselling services to ensure that our clients fully understand the procedures, potential complications, and alternative options, such as adoption.

We value our clients' autonomy and recognise the importance of taking the time to consider all options. Our professional consultation services, including clinical psychologists, are available to provide support throughout the decision-making process. When our clients are ready to proceed, we require them to sign consent forms and present their marriage certificate before beginning treatment.

We offer egg freezing for both medical reasons (such as treatment for long-term illness) and social reasons. Social egg freezing allows frozen eggs to be stored for up to 10 years, while cancer patients can store them until they reach 55 years old. Regretfully, we must inform patients that frozen eggs can only be used if the patient is legally married under the laws of Hong Kong, even if they froze their eggs while unmarried.

Hormonal Stimulation

Starting your egg-freezing journey involves receiving hormone injections to stimulate egg production. Rest assured that our team will select the most appropriate hormone therapy option for you. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, our doctor will be available to provide support and guidance every step of the way.

Monitoring the Maturation of Follicles

Regular ultrasound scanning (USS) of the ovaries is carried out in order to monitor the size of your follicles and help us determine the best timing for egg collection. 

To complete the final maturation step and ensure the timely release of the eggs, an additional injection, typically in the form of placental hormone (hCG), will be administered.

Egg collection will be scheduled for 34-36 hours after this injection, allowing you time to prepare and rest.

Egg Collection

Through the transvaginal ultrasound-guided oocyte aspiration procedure, your doctor will gently insert a needle through the vagina to collect the eggs, utilising ultrasound imaging for precise guidance.

We place great importance on the safe and efficient management of the eggs. Once retrieved, they will be promptly handed over to the supervising embryologist.

Oocyte Freezing

After a careful evaluation, the embryologist then selects the eggs that are in the best condition for preservation and storage, ensuring that they have the highest potential for future success.
 

STEP

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