ON FREEZING AND STORING EGGS (OOCTE CRYOPRESERVATION)
Our assisted reproductive program at Bennett Fertility Institute now offers egg freezing and storage (oocyte cryopreservation, OC). The procedure, which is considered experimental by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), has been approved by our Institutional Review Board (IRB). Oocyte cryopreservation (OC) is indicated for the following situations:
1. Women in the reproductive age about to undergo cancer treatment (radiation, chemotherapy, surgery) that might render them sterile or infertile. An example is a patient with breast cancer about to undergo treatment.
2. Women who wish to delay childbearing for social reasons (e.g. career considerations). An example is an unmarried woman in her 20’s who is pursuing a career, realizing that fertility declines with age.
3. Women who are scheduled to undergo gynecologic surgery for benign reasons that may result in removal of both ovaries.
4. Women at risk for premature menopause. An example is a woman in her early 20’s with strong family history (mother, sister) of early menopause, and or tests indicative of impending ovarian failure.
Several issues must be considered before trying OC:
* This procedure is still considered experimental, due to its short track record (only approximately 1000 deliveries world-wide since 2002). There is no long-term reliable information regarding safety (e.g. rate of birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities, infant or child health).
* For now, success rate is limited. It is approximately 4% live-birth per frozen-thawed egg, perhaps 20% per embryo transfer procedure. . Remember that not all eggs survive the freeze; not all will fertilize successfully; not all that fertilize will develop into healthy embryos; and that not all healthy embryos will result in a live birth.
* If you are considering OC, please remember that freezing eggs beyond age 35 further lowers the success rate (OC does not slow down the ovarian aging process).
* OC requires in vitro fertilization (IVF), an expensive process where oocytes (eggs) are fertilized with sperm in the laboratory (in vitro).