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The egg freezing procedure

Egg freezing is a way to preserve your fertility so that you have the chance to become a parent later in life. Read more to understand the egg freezing process from preparation through to egg collection.

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Written by Apricity Team

Egg freezing is a fertility preservation treatment that’s becoming more popular as individuals choose to delay becoming parents. There are many reasons why people make this decision. Some have career goals they wish to achieve first, while others do so because they are about to begin medical treatment that could affect their fertility. For many single women who have yet to meet a partner, freezing their eggs gives them more options for becoming parents in the future. 

Whatever your reason for wanting to freeze your eggs, it’s a good idea to find out what you can about the egg freezing procedure so that you feel empowered and informed about your options. 

In this article, we explain the key aspects of egg freezing, offering clear insights into what happens before, during, and after the process so that you know what to expect.

What is egg freezing?

Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a medical procedure where your eggs are collected, frozen, and stored for future use. This process allows you to preserve your fertility so that you have the option to undergo IVF treatment with your own eggs in the future. 

Age is a significant factor in fertility, albeit not the only one, as your ovarian reserve gradually declines. Knowing at what age you should freeze your eggs can help you plan your timeline for treatment and help ensure the eggs collected are of optimum quality. It’s usually recommended that the egg freezing procedure take place before the age of 35. However, with Apricity, you may be able to freeze your eggs up to the age of 43.

What happens before an egg freezing cycle begins?

Before you can undergo an egg freezing cycle, we carry out initial fertility tests. These include hormone tests to look at your thyroid and an AMH test to assess your ovarian reserve. The results of these investigations help your healthcare team create a bespoke treatment plan for you.

Apricity’s at-home care model means that you can do your initial fertility investigations in the privacy and comfort of your own home. We send a clinical-grade testing kit directly to your door with a simple finger prick blood test. Once you’ve collected your sample, you return it to us by post. If you’d prefer to have your tests done in person, we can arrange for you to go to a local clinic instead.

After your results come back, you’ll have a consultation with one of our specialists. You won’t need to leave home for this appointment, as it takes place online. During the consultation, you’ll discuss the results of your fertility investigations, and our specialist will outline your individualised egg freezing treatment plan including when it can begin and what medications you’ll be using during ovarian stimulation.

Before your cycle commences, you’ll also have an infectious disease screening blood test and complete consent forms. These forms will outline your wishes for storage and use of your eggs.

How long is an egg freezing cycle?

The duration of an egg freezing cycle varies, but it typically spans two to three weeks. This includes the time for ovarian stimulation, monitoring, and the egg retrieval procedure. How long it takes will be down to how your ovaries respond to the hormone medications.. 

Does freezing eggs stop your period?

No, the egg freezing process does not stop your menstrual cycle. With Apricity, you contact your Apricity Advisor when your period starts and your advisor will arrange your first ultrasound scan either at home or at a local scan clinic. After that, you’ll begin administering injectable hormone medications as advised by your clinic.  

While the medications used during the egg freezing process may temporarily alter your menstrual cycle, it typically resumes its regular pattern after your egg freezing cycle is complete.

What happens during ovarian stimulation?

Usually, during a menstrual cycle, your ovaries will develop and release one egg per month. For an egg freezing cycle, hormone medication is used to grow multiple eggs at the same time.

You’ll inject these medications daily once your egg freezing cycle begins. Your clinic will monitor how your ovaries are responding to the medication throughout with regular blood tests and ultrasounds. The clinic will use your scan and blood test results to determine whether your medication dosage needs to change and when your eggs are ready for collection.

How are eggs extracted for freezing?

Eggs are extracted for freezing through a minimally invasive procedure, referred to as egg retrieval or egg collection. Apricity doctors manage your care and once your eggs have reached an optimum size, they’ll decide when your egg collection will be. Your Apricity Advisor will then organise the egg collection procedure date and time with you and the partner clinic. Your Care Team will ask you to inject a ‘trigger shot’ at home 36 hours before egg collection. So, if your egg collection is at noon on a Monday, you will inject your trigger shot at midnight on the Saturday before. The trigger shot promotes the final maturation of your eggs.

The clinic performs your egg collection while you’re under sedation or anaesthesia. They insert a thin, ultrasound-guided needle through the vaginal wall to access the ovaries and retrieve mature eggs from the follicles. The procedure usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

What can I expect after egg collection?

Immediately after egg collection, your medical team will bring you around from the sedation or anaesthesia and then monitor you for one to two hours to check you feel ok, and that you aren't experiencing any negative side effects from the procedure. They'll ask that a responsible adult come to collect you to drive you home as you may have lingering effects of the sedation or anaesthesia so driving or taking public transport isn’t recommended.

After egg collection, you may experience some mild discomfort, bloating, or cramping, as well as a small amount of vaginal bleeding but these symptoms generally subside within a few days. There is no requirement to rest after the procedure, but you may wish to take it easier for a few days.

How does egg freezing work?

Once your eggs are retrieved, they are frozen. This is done by either cooling them slowly or fast freezing (vitrifying) them. The clinic then stores them in tanks of liquid nitrogen. Egg freezing involves the use of cryoprotectants to prevent ice crystal formation during the freezing process. This halts cellular activity and preserves your eggs until they are thawed for future use.

Egg freezing with Apricity

The inclusive pricing of our egg freezing package covers all treatment services and medication required for one full cycle and storage for one year meaning that there’ll be no surprises.

When you choose Apricity for your egg freezing procedure, we make the process as hassle-free as possible, ensuring you have support throughout. Many of your appointments and services take place at home and you’ll have access to our app which is full of helpful content and advice, alongside a Fertility Advisor who is available through extended hours, 7 days a week.

We’re also an inclusive provider meaning we offer egg freezing for trans and non-binary people as well as single women, and women with partners.

To start your egg freezing journey with Apricity, book a consultation with one of our Fertility Advisors.

Written by Apricity Team

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Written by our group of fertility experts and doctors consultants

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