This term refers to the freezing of one’s own eggs or sperm and their storage at very low temperatures in order to preserve the possibility of giving birth to one’s own offspring in the future.
Cryopreservation of germ cells (oocytes or sperm) is one of the more recent methods of assisted reproduction. Cryopreservation of eggs or sperm in practice was made possible by the so-called ultra-fast freezing method – vitrification. During vitrification, the cells are not damaged in the same way as in the previously used so-called slow freezing, which is especially important in the case of eggs. Storage takes place in Dewar vessels with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of almost -196 degrees Celsius and the length of storage is not limited, it can be for many years without reducing the quality of stored samples.
Preservation of eggs
What are the reasons people consider freezing eggs?
Life plans, postponement of motherhood. For young women who do not have a partner or for whom pregnancy is not currently desirable (study, career, housing and others), but want to maintain their reproductive ability until it would no longer be naturally possible.
If a woman is known to be at risk of ovarian failure and consequent loss of fertility in the future, the eggs can also be frozen and stored for future use.
In case of sudden problems. On the day of the partner’s egg collection, the partner’s sperm are not available. The reasons for such a problematic situation can be medical, mental, traffic, or even work. In this case, it is possible to freeze the obtained eggs.
In the diagnosis of cancer. If the woman is planning oncological treatment and there is a risk of loss of fertility, it is highly advisable to freeze her own eggs in advance. Eggs tend to be degraded during chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Why are eggs a problematic material for cryopreservation?
An egg is just one cell with a high fluid content, which is in itself a problematic material to freeze. But the egg also contains an apparatus called a meiotic spindle, which is extremely susceptible to damage from chemicals and cold. The specialist who performs the vitrification of the eggs must therefore be very experienced and precise, and vitrification technique in the laboratory must be very well controlled.
Whilst egg freezing doesn’t guarantee a baby and is not an insurance policy, many women want to take control of their fertility, to the extent that’s possible. Taking some control over the future can be empowering. Egg freezing provides many with a sense that they are doing all they can, investing in themselves and ensuring that when they are ready to have children, they are confident they considered all the options available to them at an earlier age. Egg freezing for many is an insurance against regret.
What is the ideal age for freezing eggs?
With the age of a woman, not only the number of active eggs decreases, but also their quality. However, this phenomenon does not affect the uterus. An interesting fact in a woman’s biology is that the quality of her eggs generally decreases faster than the quality of her reproductive organs, ie her ability to carry pregnancy. This is the reason why older women may have no problem with children using donated eggs. Therefore, if a young woman has eggs frozen, she can then serve as a donor to herself, in which case a high chance of getting pregnant with her own eggs thawed can be expected. We consider the age limit for egg freezing to be 35 years.
How does egg freezing work?
If you are considering freezing eggs, order via our coordinators on the telephone number +420 549 523 258 for a consultation at the outpatient clinic of one of the IVF specialists or use the contact form below on this page.
After performing the basic examination, a personal treatment plan and hormonal stimulation of the ovaries are determined, followed by egg collection and freezing. It is possible to keep eggs in liquid nitrogen for many years.
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What are the most common reasons for sperm preservation?
To be sure. Men are accustomed to plan and think pragmatically. If a man decides to have his own sperm stored preventively, he has insurance against the risk of losing fertility, for example as a result of an accident during sports, during risky activities, or even during a profession. It doesn’t have to be just members of the security forces, such as soldiers before leaving for missions, or firefighters and others. For professional drivers, sperm values deteriorate significantly over time due to prolonged sitting and heating of testicular tissue, and thereby it comes to distortion of spermiogenesis. In almost every profession, you can find risk effects that are reflected in male fertility. These are chemicals, radiation and, last but not least, stress.
Cancer detection. It can happen that in the treatment of cancer with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, irreversible damage to the to the seminiferous tissues occurs. Before starting treatment, it is advisable to freeze and store samples of their own sperm for later use in the clinic of assisted reproduction.
Delaying starting a family to a later age. The age of a man also affects the success of pregnancy and the health of the future offspring. Therefore, it is better to save a sperm sample at a younger age.