Aspire HFI Blog

Take Control of Your Fertility Future: Egg Freezing 101 Houston Seminar

Posted by Houston Fertility Institute on April 14th, 2016

Egg freezing at Houston Fertility Institute helps many women, from those facing medical treatments that could impact fertility to women wanting to delay starting a family to focus on career and personal goals, preserve their fertility for the future. If you are curious about fertility preservation and want to explore your options, join us Thursday, May 12, 2016 for the FREE seminar, Egg Freezing 101.

The upcoming seminar will be presented by Dr. S. Kemi Nurudeen, Director of Fertility Preservation at Houston Fertility Institute. Dr. S. Kemi Nurudeen is double board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

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She is a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Houston Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, Houston Medical Forum and Mary Susan Moore Medical Society. Dr. Nurudeen has authored several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and has presented her research nationally and internationally.

Event details: The free seminar will be at The Grove, 1611 Lamar St., Houston, TX 77010. Doors open at 6 PM and the seminar begins at 6:30, followed by a Q&A session.

Space is limited, so please RSVP to by May 9th.

What exactly is egg freezing?

Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is a method to preserve the reproductive potential in women of reproductive age. The process is approximately two weeks of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to grow multiple eggs. The eggs are then removed and cooled to sub-zero temperatures in order to pause all biologic activity. These eggs can be thawed at a later time to achieve future pregnancy.

Who should consider freezing their eggs?

Egg freezing may be considered for women who face illnesses or genetic conditions that may impact their future fertility. Female cancer patients may pursue egg freezing before they undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments that can lead to permanent loss of their eggs. It can also be considered for women undergoing removal of their ovaries for genetic mutations (i.e. BRCA) that put them at risk for future ovarian cancer.

For other women, having a family is deferred due to their education, career pursuits, current unstable relationship, or lack of a partner. Elective egg freezing allows these women to invest in the possibility of bearing their own biological children at later time when conception could become more difficult.

Why am I just hearing about this now?

Egg freezing has been present for decades with the first human birth from a frozen egg occurring in 1986. The technology has continued to improve with the transition from the less successful slow freezing method to the currently used rapid freezing (vitrification) technology. In 2012, egg freezing was first declared non-experimental by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and approved for commercial use due to the volume of published cycle data and success rates worldwide since the introduction of vitrification in 2009.

When is the best time to freeze my eggs?

Due to the decline in female fertility with advancing age, egg freezing is best in the early to mid-30s when the fertility potential is still near its peak. Some women pursue oocyte cryopreservation at an even younger age due to medical conditions that impact future fertility or a family history of early menopause. Egg freezing can occur with success in women in their mid- to late-30s. However, these women need to be carefully counseled on the progressive loss of egg quantity and quality that occurs with female aging. The prevalence of infertility, miscarriage and genetic abnormalities of female eggs increase rapidly after age 35.

The published clinical success rates with frozen eggs decline with advancing maternal age which is consistent with the clinical experience using fresh eggs immediately for in vitro fertilization. The success rates are significantly lower for women who freeze eggs after age 38.

Will I have any eggs left after the procedure?

Yes. The egg freezing process does not deplete your egg supply. Every woman is born with a set number of eggs. By puberty, there is a pool of 300,000 to 400,000 oocytes remaining. Over a female’s reproductive lifetime (monthly ovulation for 35 to 40 years), only 300-400 eggs will be ovulated. The eggs, not selected for ovulation, are naturally lost. The egg freezing process uses hormones to help recruit more eggs than the one your body selects each month for ovulation.

How long can eggs remain frozen?

Due to the transition to the vitrification technology in 2009 and recent lift of the experimental status of egg freezing in 2012, the length of time eggs can be stored is not yet known. At this time, the longest stored eggs used to achieve pregnancy is about 5-7 years. With the continued improvement in the egg freezing technology, it is projected that vitrified oocytes should store well long-term.

How many eggs should I store to achieve a future pregnancy?

The number of eggs needed to achieve future pregnancy depends not only on your age at the time of egg freezing and results of your future fertility evaluation, but also on the experience of the fertility center’s egg freezing program. Before starting the process, you will be counseled by a fertility specialist about age and clinic-specific success rates of oocyte cryopreservation.

Typical clinic success rates range between 5-12 percent chance of pregnancy per egg so it may be recommended to freeze as many as 20-30 eggs. It is important to recognize that success rates may not be generalizable, and clinic-specific success rates are used to counsel patients whenever possible.

Is egg freezing safe?

More data is needed on the safety and emotional risks of egg freezing but the preliminary data so far is reassuring. The side effects of the hormone medications can range, depending on the individual woman, from premenstrual syndrome symptoms to bloating and discomfort from the enlarged stimulated ovaries. The egg retrieval procedure does require anesthesia but has <1% risk of surgical complications, such as infection.

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