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How Are Eggs Frozen?

How Are Eggs Frozen?

What Is Egg Freezing?

Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation in medical terms, is a method of preserving a woman’s fertility by freezing their ova. It is an excellent choice for women who are not yet ready to establish a family but want to conceive in the future. The eggs are surgically retrieved from the ovaries and are frozen until the person decides to start a family. The frozen egg then is thawed, fertilized with sperm in a lab, and the resultant embryo is transferred to her uterus. In-Vitro Fertilization is employed for this procedure.

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Why Are Eggs Frozen?

Several women may not want to get pregnant during their fertile years. Unlike men, where sperms are produced every day, women are born with all the eggs they will have during their entire lifetime. Thus, as and when a woman matures, her egg reserve depletes. By the time a woman is in her 40s, most of the eggs are over and the remaining ones are not healthy enough to be fertilized.

Thus freezing one’s egg gives a woman the liberty to make her life choices. Egg freezing is also a good option for women with severe endometriosis and some inherited illnesses that cause a rapid loss of healthy eggs. It’s also an excellent alternative for women with autoimmune conditions and transgender people.

The Procedure Of Egg Freezing

Eggs are frozen in a stepwise manner that consist of three detailed steps, they are mentioned below :

1. Stimulated ovulation

Naturally, a woman releases only one egg each month from either of her ovaries. When going for egg freezing, the process of ovulation is sped up to release more than one egg. To achieve this, Synthetic hormones are injected to stimulate the ovaries. After 8 to 14 days, the follicles are suitable for egg retrieval. HCG hormones or other drugs are administered at this phase to assist the eggs mature.

2. Extraction of eggs

The second step of the frozen egg procedure is the extraction of the eggs. This step is the quickest one. As eggs are in the ovary, it has to be removed surgically under the influence of anesthesia. Transvaginal ultrasound aspiration is a typical procedure used for this purpose. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the vaginal canal to identify follicles in this method.

A needle is then inserted into the vaginal canal to access the follicle. Multiple eggs are retrieved using a suction device linked to the needle. This procedure might sound overwhelming but be rest assured that you won’t feel a thing!

3. Egg freezing, the final step

The last and most important step is the freezing of eggs. The eggs are frozen without fertilizing them to a sub-zero temperature. This temperature pauses the biological activity. The formation of ice is natural and it is essential to avoid the formation of it as it can rupture the cell. Thus, a newer procedure called vitrification is used.

Vitrification involves rapid cooling in high concentrations of chemicals that prevent the development of ice crystals, is done to prevent any damage to the egg tissue. Cryoprotectants are chemicals that are often utilized to prevent ice crystal formation during the freezing process.

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