Egg freezing & vitrification
Egg freezing is a method of fertility preservation, which allows women to freeze eggs for later use. This can be for medical or social reasons. Women undergoing egg freezing generally take medication for a number of days to increase the growth of the eggs before they are collected in a short theatre procedure.
Egg freezing at CREATE
CREATE Fertility’s Egg Vitrification (fast freezing) service allows you to preserve eggs for use in assisted IVF conception treatments at a later date. Egg vitrification is a newly developed technique which allows eggs to be rapidly frozen, preserving their structural integrity. It was developed by Professor RC Chian, who set up our egg freezing facility and trained our embryologists in this new technique. Our egg survival rate following vitrification is very high, around 90%, which helps to increase the success of having a baby in the future.
Why do women freeze their eggs?
There are many reasons that people choose to freeze their eggs. Some choose to freeze their eggs for social reasons, if they have not found the right partner for example, or if the time is not right to have a child. For others it may be a medical decision, in the face of a diagnosis such as cancer or being at risk of early menopause. Freezing eggs can be a very reassuring and empowering step, and it allows women to take control of their own fertility. As Medical Director Professor Geeta Nargund said ‘The development of egg Vitrification is a ground-breaking development in its ability to empower women and provide them with the freedom to choose when they have their children, and for these reasons I believe it to be a key milestone on the road to gender equality’.
CREATE offers a different approach to most other clinics, as we specialise in providing only Natural and Mild treatment. This means that we give only the minimum amount of drugs required, and work within the body’s natural cycle in order to collect the egg(s) naturally selected by the body. This approach means that treatment length is shorter and side effects are reduced. Treatment is therefore easier to fit around your day-to-day life.
Any woman is suitable for egg freezing, so long as she is ovulating. To achieve the best results in terms of quality and quantity of eggs, it is usually recommended that you freeze eggs before you reach 35. The process takes around 2 weeks and involves taking the appropriate medication to stimulate the growth of your eggs, and coming in to the clinic for monitoring scans and blood tests. Once your eggs are judged to have reached the appropriate size they will be collected in the theatre while you are sedated. These will then be frozen using Vitrification technology, which is a fast-freezing process ensuring that the cells retain their structural integrity and are not damaged by the formation of ice crystals. The eggs can then be stored for up to 10 years before being thawed for use in IVF treatment.
The success rates of egg freezing have been increasing in recent years, particularly following the development of Vitrification technology. Our Scientific Director, Prof RC Chian is one of the pioneers of Vitrification, and has trained our embryologists in this practice. Over 90% of frozen eggs can now survive thawing, and have the same chance of success in IVF/ICSI treatment as fresh eggs. The evidence to date suggests that children born from frozen eggs are just as healthy and have similar outcomes to children born naturally.
Data published in scientific journals by the Instituto Valenciano de Infertilidad, Universidad de Valencia in Spain in 2010, 2013 and 2014, show that of 3407 cycles of treatment for women freezing eggs for their own use, more than 80% of eggs were successfully thawed resulting in 1031 live births (i.e. 30% live birth rate), a similar rate to that we can expect when using fresh eggs. The success rate is even higher for younger women who freeze their eggs by vitrification. Women who freeze around 12 eggs before the age of 35 can have up to 50% live birth rate later.
Please read our Medical Director's blogs for further information: