Freezing of oocytes – how, why and how much does cryopreservation of oocytes cost?
As they get older, few women think about the fact that the number of healthy eggs gradually decreases with age. Alas, in pursuit of a career, the fairer sex completely forget about the boundaries of health, and when, finally, there is time to create a family, the moment is already lost. In the West, egg freezing has long become a common phenomenon, but in our country it is still only gaining momentum.
Why is this necessary, and how does the process itself take place?
The content of the article:
Who May Need Oocyte Cryopreservation and Why
According to statistics, cryopreservation is most popular among women 25-35 years old. And in some companies (where their employees are especially valued) they even pay for the procedure to their employees. Why is egg freezing needed?
The main reasons for this procedure:
- Financial instability. As a rule, this is the very case when “giving birth is too dangerous because of the instability of work.” It is not known when this very stability will come, but the eggs “age” together with the woman. Therefore, freezing looks like a solution to the problem.
- Lack of a worthy candidate for dad… Well, here it is, and that’s it. And time passes, and we are not getting younger. And when the prince finally gallops up, by that time it will be extremely difficult to give birth. Freezing of eggs will allow not to spoil the happy moments of life with the “prince” and give birth to a baby precisely from a loved one, and not because “years go by” and “at least from anyone.”
- Medical indications. For example, before chemotherapy in the treatment of oncology or before surgery, in the presence of endometriosis or stenosis of the cervical canal. If there is a risk of exposure to harmful drugs / procedures or consequences such as infertility, healthy eggs are frozen.
- Harmful or hazardous work… That is, professions associated with exposure to various aggressive substances or with an increased risk to health.
- Genetic disease. In this case, it is possible to choose among the frozen cells those that have not been affected by hereditary defects.
- Violation of the quality of the eggs. It is believed that after thawing, the cell counts can be significantly increased, which will increase the chances of conception with IVF.
- The need for surgery to remove the ovaries, uterus. Egg freezing will allow a woman to preserve her eggs and not lose the opportunity to become a mother of a genetically native baby.
- Emergency… In particular, obtaining eggs during stimulation, but the lack of opportunities for their timely use in IVF (for example, if the partner is sick or away).
How does egg freezing take place and are there risks?
The process of cryopreservation of eggs is their temporary freezing followed by storage in a honey / jar for further use in fertilization.
- One of the methods – slow freezing – today it is practically not used due to the high risk of cell damage (note – crystallization of water leads to the destruction of the structure of the egg and, thereby, to a decrease in its viability).
- Method two – a technology called “vitrification”. This method allows you to freeze the egg in the shortest possible time – instantly, with a very rapid drop in temperature. The transition of the liquid to the glassy state occurs without going through the crystallization stage. This, in turn, ensures the integrity of the biomaterial (and, of course, the functions of the cell) during further defrosting.
According to studies, pregnancies after IVF using thawed eggs are becoming more successful, in comparison with “fresh” protocols – they are not burdened by early childbirth or the birth of babies with low weight. That is, the eggs after cryopreservation are more viable.
How does this happen?
- First, a consultation with a specialist. At this stage, it is necessary to find out – what are the true needs of the woman, what are the reasons for the appeal (just a personal desire or serious evidence), to analyze her health. Also, all the “formalities” are resolved – payment, contract, etc.
- Next – stimulation of the uterine appendages for their active production of the necessary eggs… As a rule, this is done with the help of hormonal drugs and certain vitamin therapy.
Blood tests and doctor’s control over the condition and functionality of the ovaries.
- The next stage is in the operating room. Here, healthy eggs will be removed using a special needle, which the specialist puts on the suction device. What is used as a pain reliever? Full, but short-term anesthesia, or local anesthesia, which acts exclusively on the cervix.
Further, the retrieved eggs are transferred to the honey / bank for storage.
- The last stage is the rehabilitation of the woman. To avoid complications, it is recommended to spend at least 2 hours in the horizon / position.
What else do you need to know:
- Egg cell lifespan… It depends on the specific ability of the biomaterial to survive at all stages of the procedure – immediately at the time of freezing and after it is thawed. Usually eggs are stored for about 5 years, although there is the possibility of extending the contract if desired and the viability of the eggs.
- Are honey / indications required? No. Today it is no longer necessary – enough desire, maturity of age and the ability to pay for the procedure itself and further storage. Age restrictions in the absence of honey / indications (optional) – 30-41 g.
- Will one procedure be enough? In a honey / jar for future success, there must be at least 20 healthy and viable eggs. 3-5 eggs in a jar is, of course, not enough, because not all of them will remain viable after storage and thawing. Therefore, it is difficult to talk about the number of procedures. So many of them will be needed to provide the required number of eggs – and 4 or more procedures. Although sometimes, it is worth noting, and out of only 2 frozen eggs, one “shoots” and gives the expectant mother her happy chance.
Pros and cons of the procedure
Of course, such a young technology has not only advantages but also disadvantages. Let’s note the most important ones.
The advantages are the following:
- The most viable eggs appear at the age of 25-30. By keeping them viable through vitrification, you increase the chances of IVF success in the future.
- Freezing helps to preserve the quality of cells and give birth to a healthy baby with a minimum of risks regarding the manifestation of various pathologies associated with the risk of age-related genetic disorders after 30 years.
- Cryopreservation solves problems those women who postpone the birth of babies “later” for various reasons.
- Also, the procedure is often used when complex treatment of infertility…
- Freezing allows you not to carry out with IVF re-stimulation of the ovaries.
- Freezing is not a guarantee successful pregnancy for women who have crossed a certain age limit. It should be understood that the preserved vitality of the oocytes does not cancel out the “deterioration” of the organism. Namely – the deterioration of the general state of health and blood circulation due to age, malfunctioning of the ovaries, decreased elasticity of the muscles of the uterus, etc. That, naturally, affects the course of pregnancy.
- Stimulating egg production isn’t all that harmlessas it might seem. Of the possible consequences – disruption of the ovaries, hyperstimulation.
- The ability to “postpone pregnancy” often forms in a woman’s mind the confidence that she “will be in time for everything” as soon as she wishes. But, there are both life circumstances and physical (wear and tear of the body) that can disrupt your plans.
- Not all stored eggs will survive thawing. That is, the fewer there are, the less chances.
- Freezing oocytes – about 12,000 rubles.
- Storage – about 1000 rubles / month.
Where can you freeze an egg in Russia – the price of the issue
The first baby to emerge from a frozen egg was born in 2010. Taking into account the increased demand for the procedure, today it is possible to freeze eggs both abroad and in our country.
The main thing is to remember that only those clinics that have the appropriate license from the Ministry of Health are entitled to carry out such procedures. The very first Russian medical centers that have mastered this technology are the Perinatal Medical Center, the Moscow Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology, as well as the European Medical Center.
Also, this service is provided in most reproductive medicine clinics in almost all major cities of the country.
The price of the issue …
How much will it cost a woman to freeze an egg?
In our country, the average prices for this procedure today are as follows:
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