What is OOCYTE FREEZING : Egg freezing?
Dr Chaithra S K
Kalyan nagar, Bengaluru Feb 14, 2017
Until recently, egg freezing has been relatively uncommon as few hospitals have the experience or capability to offer this service.
Women can opt for egg freezing for many reasons:
- In case she undergoes cancer treatment, chemo or radiation that affects the pelvic region and ovaries.
- In case she wishes to delay conception for personal or professional reasons.
- Delay in marriage or finding partners
- In case she opts to avoid freezing surplus eggs post an IVF cycle.
Innovating egg freezing techniques and applications
With changing technologies the procedure is moving from a slow freeze protocol to fast freeze or vitrification. Vitrification virtually removes the risk for ice crystals buildup in the egg during the freezing process. This is significant because the female egg cell is mainly made of water.
The Egg Freezing Procedure
Though sperm and embryos have proved fairly easy to freeze, the egg is the largest cell in the human body and has a large amount of water. When in frozen state, ice crystals if formed can destroy the cell. Over the years it has been learnt that egg must be dehydrated and water be replaced with an “anti-freeze” before freezing in order to prevent ice crystal formation. It is also learnt that as the shell of the egg hardens when frozen, sperm must be introduced with a needle to inseminate the egg using a routine technique known as ICSI, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection.
Till date, over 5,000 babies have been born from frozen egg cycles. Of the women who partnered in this fertility preservation and frozen egg IVF cycle, 65 percent achieved successful pregnancies.