The oocyte preservation is achieved thanks to their vitrification, that is, freezing the eggs in liquid nitrogen at -196º. This technique allows the preservation of ovules with their quality at the moment in which they were vitrified, with no time limit.
In order to vitrify a woman’s ovules, it is necessary to perform an ovarian stimulation with external hormones, to induce multifollicular growth in a single cycle.
Ovarian stimulation lasts between 8 and 12 days and requires the administration of hormones subcutaneously as well as ultrasound controls every 2-3 days, to follow the correct development of the ovarian follicles. When the size of the follicles reaches 17-18 mm, the ovulation trigger is given and the egg retrieval is performed 36 hours after. Egg retrieval is a simple procedure performed under vaginal ultrasound guidance and under superficial sedation. In about 15-20 minutes, eggs are obtained and taken to the laboratory to prepare them for subsequent vitrification.
After egg retrieval, patient recovery is usually very fast, and most women are able to resume routine activities within 24 hours. Menstruation usually appears one week after and menstrual cycles will resume as normal.
In the event that you want to start the process again, an ultrasound performed at the time of menstruation can inform us whether it is possible to do it just after the first cycle or if we should wait for the following cycle.
It is important to bear in mind that each woman’s ovarian response to stimulation is different, so medication protocols can change a lot as well as the number of eggs retrieved and vitrified. For this reason, it is essential to have adequate advice before the procedure, so that each woman is counselled on the number of cycles that she should carry out to achieve vitrification of a certain number of eggs.
The final number of frozen eggs will determine the future chances of pregnancy when we use them, according to the age of the woman at the moment of the vitrification.
If you are thinking of preserving your eggs, you should get individual advise in order to establish a strategy that allows you to know the treatment plan, the time you are going to invest as well as the total cost of the process and annual maintenance of your frozen eggs.