Egg freezing entails stimulating the ovaries, harvesting the eggs, maturing them to a certain stage and then freezing them for later use. It differs from embryo freezing in that the freezing process takes place prior to fertilization. It is also different from freezing ovarian tissue which involves surgically removing segments of the ovary to be transferred back at a later date.
Egg freezing may be useful for women about to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy, or for women who aren’t ready to have a child yet for a variety of social reasons, but wish to reserve their fertility options until they’re older. It may also be beneficial to those at high risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation.
The disadvantage of egg freezing is that it is much more difficult than freezing embryos. The ideal technique for freezing eggs has not yet been determined. There have been recent reports of pregnancies and live births following treatment cycles that use cryopreserved eggs. However, much more information is needed in order to calculate meaningful live birth and miscarriage rates.
-- Dehan Chen, M.D., Associate Clinical Director