Egg Freezing Process
How do I prepare for egg freezing?
If you've decided to freeze your eggs, the first step in the process is a consultation with one of PFC's physicians—who are all board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI).
To assess your reproductive potential, your physician will use fertility tests such as an antral follicle count (AFC) and a blood test for anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH). These tests help determine how many eggs remain (the ovarian reserve) in the ovaries' small sacs (follicles).
Done by vaginal ultrasound, the AFC will give you a good sense of how many eggs you will produce. The quality of those eggs is not measured by ultrasound; age is a better predictor of egg quality. An ultrasound wand allows the physician to create images of your ovaries from echoes of sounds. No X-rays are involved.
Next, you will meet with one of PFC's clinical coordinators to discuss lab work, consent forms, medication and your treatment calendar.
The clinical coordinator will provide you with clinical clearance to proceed with treatment. You will also meet with a financial coordinator to discuss pricing and the payment process. These appointments can be done in person or by phone.
Women also have the option to meet with a Marriage and Family Therapist at PFC to discuss the risks and benefits of the egg freezing process.
What is the process?
The first step in the egg-freezing process is to generate multiple eggs for retrieval. Your physician will prescribe fertility medications to stimulate follicle growth and produce multiple eggs. Using a very fine needle, you inject these medications just beneath the skin. Our staff offer on-site injection classes and will counsel and instruct you throughout the entire process. This phase of treatment lasts about 10 days.
Ultrasound monitoring and lab tests
A PFC physician will monitor you on a regular basis to assess follicle growth and the number of eggs being produced. When follicles are mature and ready for retrieval, you stop taking the fertility medication, and take an ovulation trigger, a hormone that brings on the final phase of egg maturation. Egg retrieval is scheduled 36 hours after the trigger. We remove the eggs from the ovaries with a fine needle 4 hours before the predicted time of ovulation, which would naturally occur about 40 hours after the hCG shot.
Egg retrieval procedure
During this painless and relatively brief procedure, your doctor uses ultrasound guidance to gently retrieve eggs from the ovarian follicles. You will be under sedation and in the care of an anesthesiologist throughout the procedure. We perform the retrieval in our clinic. It takes about 10-15 minutes. After the retrieval, we ask you to take it easy the rest of the day. We also require someone drive you home after the retrieval as you are not able to drive yourself due to the sedation medication. You may resume normal activity the following day.
We preserve the retrieved eggs through a rapid freezing process called vitrification. Eggs remain frozen until you need them.