Oocyte Cryopreservation or Egg Freezing Frequently Asked Questions

It is important for women to be privy to the knowledge on the safe ways to preserve egg quality. This method can be found with Oocyte Cryopreservation, commonly known as egg freezing. Over a decade of practice, I have been asked many questions about the egg freezing procedure. Here are the top 10 frequently asked questions for your easy reference.

Illustration: TAPAS RANJAN

1. What is oocyte cryopreservation or egg freezing?

The human oocyte cryopreservation is a procedure to preserve a woman's eggs. This technique enables a woman to retrieve and store her eggs for later use.

2. Who should consider egg freezing?

Women who wish to preserve their fertility for the future including:

  • Women who want or need to delay childbearing in order to pursue educational, career or other personal goals.
  • Women diagnosed with cancer
  • Women with objections to storing frozen embryos for religious and/or moral reasons.

3. When should I freeze my eggs?

As soon as you can, and best before the age of 35, when the quality of eggs is optimum.

4. How does egg freezing work?

Eggs are frozen using a flash-freezing process known as vitrification.

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The process of egg vitrification is done using an ultra rapid cooling method. A substance called cryoprotectant is used to prevent damage to the cells when it is immersed in liquid nitrogen and stored at -196OC.

5. How are the eggs retrieved?

  1. You will be given 9 to 10 days of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and mature multiple eggs.
  2. During the removal process, you will be placed under light sedation. A needle attached to a catheter is guided through the vaginal wall. One by one, the eggs will be drawn out using light suction.
  3. The eggs are collected in test tubes labelled with your name and unique identification number, which will be handed to the embryologist for the storing process.

6. How many eggs will be retrieved?

The Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) Egg Freezing Counselling Tool (EFCT) is used to help determine the number of eggs that we need to retrieve. In general, we will attempt to retrieve as many eggs as we can.

7. How are the eggs stored?

The eggs are frozen and stored at a temperature of -196 degrees Celsius.

8. How long can the eggs remain frozen?

Based on scientific evidence, as well as through our experience, eggs can be optimally stored for as long as 10 years.

9. Is the thawing process safe?

Yes, the thawing process is safe. More than 90% of eggs have been proven to survive the thawing process.

10. What are the costs involved?

The process of each retrieval costs between RM10,000-RM15,000. The yearly fee to store the eggs is about RM1,000. These are just indicative figures; do contact us for the latest fees.

You are sure to have many questions. Do list them down and call 03-80699333 (TMC Fertility & Women’s Specialist Centre, Puchong) email navdeep@tmclife.com to make an appointment to consult with Dr . Navdeep.