The Practice Committees of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) have released new practice guidelines that remove the “experimental” label from oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing). “Although data are limited, no increase in chromosomal abnormalities, birth defects, and developmental deficits has been reported in the offspring born from cryopreserved oocytes when compared to pregnancies from conventional IVF/ICSI and the general population. Evidence indicates that oocyte vitrification and warming should no longer be considered experimental.” October, 2012
Though no longer needed, Carolina Conceptions has had Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval since 2010 to perform egg freezing on a trial basis. Carolina Conceptions has ongoing pregnancies and deliveries with patients who conceived with the use of frozen eggs.
Three groups of women are mostly likely to inquire about oocyte cryopreservation:
- Women with a cancer diagnosis who want to preserve their eggs and fertility prior to undergoing chemotherapy
- Couples who are ethically opposed to the freezing of human embryos during their IVF cycle
- Women who are young but for various reasons are not able to pursue childbearing until later in their life and want to freeze eggs while they are still young.
The freezing of human eggs has been technologically challenging due to the large size of the egg and the large amount of cytoplasm (water) within the egg. Sperm and embryos (fertilized eggs), on the other hand, are much more amenable to the process of freezing and thawing. Frozen embryo treatment to establish pregnancy has been available for decades and pregnancy rates are excellent at 50-60%.
One challenge involving egg freezing and thawing is that some eggs do not survive the freeze and thaw process, so it is necessary to have a good number of eggs available if a woman intends to undergo this process. One way to assess the likelihood of adequate egg reserve for freezing is the AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) blood level. All resting eggs (antral follicles) make AMH and therefore this number reflects the pool of available resting eggs.
If you are interested in egg cryopreservation, please contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss if this procedure might be an appropriate option for you.