Egg freezing (a.k.a oocyte cryopreservation) is a fertility preservation method, in which your eggs are frozen, stored and used at a later time in life. There are several different reasons as to why people choose to freeze their eggs, such as; if you’re not ready for a family yet, if you are a trans person pre-transitioning or if you are undergoing cancer treatment. While it can not guarantee you a family, it does give you more options.
Following a referral to one of our partner clinics, your fertility doctor will run tests in hopes to understand how your body will react to hormone treatment and predict how many eggs you are likely to produce during the process. You will also be tested for STI’s, such as HIV and Hepatitis. These results will not alter whether you can proceed with the treatment but will allow the clinic to store affected eggs separately.
You will then begin injecting hormones daily, to stimulate your ovarian follicles to produce more eggs. During this stage, you will regularly visit your clinic to undergo pelvic ultrasounds and blood work to track the growth of your follicles. Once the follicles are large enough, you will give another injection that acts as a trigger to mature the eggs inside and initiate ovulation.
36 hours after you have triggered the release of the eggs, you will return to the clinic to undergo a minor egg retrieval surgery performed under general anaesthesia. A needle, guided by an ultrasound, gets to your ovaries through the vagina and suctions the fluid out of each follicle. Once retrieved, the doctor will pass the fluid extracted from your follicles to an embryo specialist (embryologist), who will examine it to see if it holds any mature eggs. If present, the mature eggs will then be selected.
When you are ready to use your frozen eggs, they will be thawed, inseminated with sperm, and grown by your clinic's lab into embryos. This is in the hopes that they will then be transferred into your uterus where they can develop into a healthy baby. This final stage consists of a full IVF cycle.⠀
What are the costs?
The Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) state that the average cost for one cycle of egg freezing treatment in the UK is between £3500 - £4500, including medication. You will then have to pay an annual fee for storage costs which can range between £125 - £350. The current storage limit is 10 years.
Once you’re ready to use your eggs, the average cost of thawing and injecting is £2500.
Does it work?
As we age the quality and quantity of our eggs decline. However, egg freezing is a great option for many people looking to preserve healthy eggs and use them later in life. Although it is difficult to know whether egg freezing will work for you, regular hormone and fertility testing is a good way of understanding your egg count and whether egg freezing is something you need to consider.
Is Egg Freezing for me?
Our Hormone and Fertility test and fertility consultations can give you insight into your reproductive health to help determine what is the right course of action.
Take our clinically curated questionnaire to learn more.
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It can take 2 cycles for your hormones to regulate after coming off most types of hormonal contraception, so we'd recommend waiting until your third period to test for the most accurate results.
Don’t worry - Hertility kits have a shelf life of 6 months!
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