Egg Freezing Services
Many women today are choosing to have a family on their own terms — when they feel ready. This may be when they have met their life partner, pursued their education, achieved career goals, or for other personal reasons. If you are between the ages of 19 and 39 and want the choice to become a parent later in life, our egg freezing program can give you that option.
How it Works
Egg freezing (mature oocyte cryopreservation) is an IVF process that involves stimulating the ovaries in order to produce multiple eggs for retrieval and freezing them for later use..
At Ontario Fertility Network, we freeze and thaw eggs in coordination with our IVF partner, TRIO. We then fertilize them using in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques, such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) when you are ready to start your family. This is performed using a well-coordinated approach, using the clinic location that is most convenient for you for the majority of the visits. We help you preserve your fertility now, and will be there when you want to conceive later.
Why Egg Freezing is Done
Egg freezing is one of the options available through Ontario Fertility Network. Our highly dedicated team is here to support you when you are ready to start your fertility journey. There are a number of reasons why women choose to extend their body’s natural fertility timeline by freezing their eggs.
Egg freezing may be suitable for those who are:
- Delaying motherhood in order to pursue school, career, or other personal life goals
- Requiring cancer treatments, which can negatively impact fertility
- Exposure to hazardous materials at work
- Same-sex couple using donor eggs to conceive
- Transgender or transitioning, and would like to freeze eggs for later use
- Opposed to freezing embryos
The Egg Freezing Process
Step One: Fertility Assessment
First, you will meet with your doctor at Ontario Fertility Network, at the location that is most convenient for you to discuss your medical history. Your medical history may dictate some diagnostic pre-screen testing. The results of these tests will allow your physician to assess your fertility potential and develop a plan.
Step Two: Ovarian Stimulation
Medications to promote ovulation stimulation via follicle growth will be used to help your ovaries produce eggs. These medications will typically be given 10-12 days prior to egg retrieval.
This stimulation of your ovaries is meant to produce as many eggs as possible, which will be assessed along the way with blood tests and transvaginal ultrasounds. During this process, we will also monitor your response to the medications and make adjustments, if necessary. Once it is determined that your eggs have matured, we will trigger the final stage of maturation and start the ovulation process. Your eggs will then be retrieved at TRIO Toronto during a short outpatient procedure under sedation.
Step Three: Egg Freezing
Once your eggs have been successfully retrieved, all mature eggs will be vitrified (rapidly frozen) and stored until you’re ready to use them. TRIO will let you know how many mature, healthy eggs have been frozen.
The entire process to prepare for egg freezing and to retrieve the eggs takes approximately 2 to 3 weeks (following the initial assessment results). However, the exact timeline can vary for each patient.
Once you are ready for the next step in your fertility plan, your eggs will be thawed by an embryologist and fertilized using an IVF procedure called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). The fertilized egg is then grown into an embryo and inserted into the uterus.
Freezing Your Eggs
When it comes to fertility, age matters. As women progress through life, their ovarian reserve reduces in number and the quality declines. This makes it more difficult to conceive and/or possibly maintain a pregnancy. At Ontario Fertility Network, we perform an AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) test to assess the ovarian reserve. This result — in combination with blood tests (on day 3) and a transvaginal ultrasound — can give us a good picture of a woman’s current egg quality.
You may not be at a point in life where you are ready to conceive. Egg freezing allows you to benefit from the advantage of younger eggs, while starting your family when it makes the most sense for you.
How long can eggs stay frozen?
Egg freezing uses a sophisticated technology that preserves the egg until you are ready for it. This means that the quality of the egg does not decline with time.
How many eggs should I store?
This can vary depending on your unique situation, but generally, it is recommended that women freeze at least 10 eggs.
Why do frozen eggs have to be fertilized using ICSI?
This is because the egg’s cell wall hardens during freezing, and so the sperm must be injected into the egg using a needle.
Can I freeze my eggs if I am 40?
Generally, it’s recommended that eggs be frozen before the age of 40. However, it may be possible to conceive from a frozen egg that is frozen at age 40 or in the early 40’s. The difference is that it is more difficult to harvest viable, healthy eggs after age 40, and the success rates for IVF may be impacted.
How many times do I need to have my eggs harvested to freeze?
This depends entirely on the health of the eggs retrieved and the amount harvested. Typically, a healthy woman will be able to produce 10-20 eggs for harvest. If this is the case, only one or two egg retrievals may be needed, depending on how many babies a woman wishes to plan for in the future. If fewer eggs are harvested, then additional cycles may be required to ensure that there are enough healthy eggs available to freeze.
What happens to my unused eggs?
Through our IVF partner, TRIO, you can choose to have your eggs stored for as long as you wish. Once they are no longer needed, we will dispose of the eggs upon your explicit direction. Your eggs are your property and will never be used for any purpose other than helping you to conceive.
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