Many women in today’s world are putting emphasis on their careers and delaying getting married or having children, preferring to have children later in life. As a woman grows older, the quality of her eggs tends to decline. This is a major hurdle in conception for women who plan late pregnancies. Throughout this blog post, we will discuss what is the egg freezing process in India, why women should opt for egg freezing, the chances and risks of egg freezing in India.
Table Of Content
- What Is Egg Freezing?
- Why do women opt for freezing their eggs?
- How to prepare for egg freezing?
- What is the egg freezing procedure in India?
- What are the factors that affect egg freezing?
- What are the risks that come with egg freezing?
- What is the scope of egg freezing for pre-menopausal women?
Egg freezing is a breakthrough in science for bypassing the biological clock. It acts as biological insurance by allowing women to preserve their own eggs, frozen when they are young and healthy, to help them achieve pregnancy later.
Although earlier, because the process of egg freezing was in the development stage, the chances of pregnancy using frozen eggs were lower, with current technology the chances with frozen or fresh eggs are similar.
What is egg freezing?
Egg freezing is a procedure where the woman can freeze her eggs and plan a pregnancy later in life whenever she is ready mentally, physically, financially & socially.
In medical terms, it is called ‘oocyte cryopreservation. The harvested eggs are frozen at -196 degrees centigrade in liquid nitrogen in biologically safe conditions.
Why do women opt for freezing their eggs?
The reasons for which women opt for egg freezing are :
- Women who are due for chemotherapy or pelvic radiation due to cancer.
- Women who are scheduled for surgeries which may result in damage to the ovaries.
- Women with a family history of premature ovarian failure.
- Women with chromosomal abnormalities like Turner’s syndrome or Fragile X syndrome are at risk of premature ovarian failure.
- Women with genetic mutations (like BRCA mutation) as they may require removal of ovaries at a younger age.
- Women wanting to delay pregnancy due to career priorities.
- Women wanting fertility preservation and biological insurance..
- Women whose husbands are undergoing treatment for male factor infertility.
- During IVF treatment, on the day of egg retrieval when the semen sample is not available (male partner is unable to produce semen sample/unavailable/ ill due to medical reasons/failure of sperm retrieval procedures).
How To Prepare For Egg Freezing?
You will have a detailed counselling session with our team of doctors to explain the procedure and its outcome. We will advise you on what test to conduct prior to starting the procedure.
Prior priming of the body is done with supplements and antioxidants. Once the blood tests are all within normal limits then your stimulation injections will begin.
Read more: Is Ovary Size Important To Get Pregnant
What is the Egg Freezing Procedure in India?
Based on your AMH values and your antral follicle count, your stimulation protocol will be decided. Ovulation induction typically starts from day 1 or day 2 of periods. You will be required to take injections from day 1 to day 5. Since these injections can be taken locally, you are not required to visit the clinic.
From day 6 onwards to day 9 or day 12, you will be required to visit us at our clinic for daily blood tests and scans. Based on your scan findings and hormone levels your dose will be titrated. So typically you are required to come for about 5-6 days only to the clinic during the stimulation period.
When the follicles reach the optimum size, a trigger injection is given for the final maturation. The oocyte retrieval is carried out 34 to 36 hours after the trigger. The egg retrieval procedure is done under mild anaesthesia so that there is minimal discomfort to the patient. You can go home the same day after the procedure and resume your work and daily activities from the next day. You will be advised some dos and don’ts which you can follow.
The retrieved eggs are evaluated and the mature oocytes are frozen at -196 degree centigrade in biologically safe conditions. The oocytes or eggs each have an ‘address’ so that there is no mix-up in identifying your eggs. We use a double witnessing system to make sure the entire procedure is done smoothly and safely.
What are the factors that impact egg freezing?
Here we have explained the factors that impact egg freezing below:
As the woman’s age advances the egg quality and quantity gradually decrease, hence it is advisable to freeze eggs at a relatively young age (below 35 years). The most ideal time is between the ages of 25 & 35
Associated medical conditions
Conditions like Endometriosis, Genital tuberculosis, uncontrolled Diabetes, and Autoimmune conditions also affect egg quality. You need to know about all these medical conditions beforehand as these are some of the major factors that affect your egg freezing procedure and quality.
Stimulation protocols and injections.
It is important to choose the right protocol and the appropriate injections and doses to get optimal results.&
Faulty freezing techniques.
Choosing the right clinic which maintains the IVF laboratory environment as per the standards is important for the safety and long-term storage of your eggs.
Skilled technicians/ embryologists.
In order for the procedure to succeed skilled embryologists are very essential.
Read more: Do’s and Don’ts after your Embryo Transfer
What are the risks that come with egg freezing?
If you are in experienced hands with a well-trained and skilled team, the risks are rare . Some risks that come with Egg Freezing are mentioned below :
- Poor response to stimulation injections
- Suboptimal response resulting in less number of eggs being retrieved,
- Ovarian hyperstimulation is seen in young women with good ovarian reserve.
- Very rarely, during the procedure injury to the urinary bladder, bowels or a blood vessel may occur.
What is the scope of egg freezing for pre-menopausal women?
Although egg freezing in India is becoming more common, it’s still not as widely available as it is for women of childbearing age.
The scope of egg freezing for menopausal women depends on a few factors, including the woman’s age, health, and reproductive history. Freezing eggs after the age of 38 can be done but may yield unsatisfactory results. We will advise such women individually depending on their AMH.
However, all things being equal, a younger woman’s chances of success are still higher than that of an older woman.