|Egg Freezing | Is it Right For You? | Program Enrollment | FAQs|
Candidates for entry into our egg freezing program are seen at all of our offices. In the case of patients that live some distance from our Los Angeles, California, New York City or Guadalajara, Mexico locations, a review of your medical records can be carried out prior to your scheduled intake visit to ascertain your probable qualification for the program. Such a preliminary review does not substitute for an intake consultation which is required prior to formal program entry and enrollment. We can provide you with information on where you can go near your home to obtain any testing that might be required to determine your eligibility for the egg freezing program.
Three of the most important factors in determining your chances for potential success with egg freezing in our program are your serum FSH (fertility thermostat) value, a baseline "resting follicle" count of your ovaries and ovarian "reserve" testing. These studies are used to gain an important understanding of the ability of your ovaries to produce healthy eggs of a quality that will allow for successful freezing, thaw and ultimate fertilization and embryo development. These are the vital steps that lead to the establishment of successful pregnancy. The FSH blood test and ovarian ultrasound resting follicle studies are mandatory for program entry. Ovarian reserve testing is used in selected cases as well. In the case of potential out of state candidates or those that live abroad, our staff can arrange for the performance of these initial studies near your home. If the results of these studies indicate your potential suitability for participation, an initial intake consultation may be scheduled. At the time of your visit, your two initial screening studies will be repeated and verified by our staff, and an additional test of your ovarian reserve may be ordered. You will meet with our Doctors and egg freezing scientists and upon acceptance, you will be given full instructions on how and when to begin your treatment. Once enrolled, you will be given a wide range of scheduling choices for the start of your treatment cycle and will be provided with prescriptions and instructions for your treatment course.
Steps in the Treatment Process
Our treatment protocol involves the preparation of your ovaries for the production of the mature eggs needed for the freezing process. Full details of this process will be provided at the time of your formal entry into the program, but a summary of the process is provided here for your reference and understanding:
Step 1 involves waiting for your normal menstrual period to begin. Depending upon the treatment protocol prescribed for you, with the beginning of your menses, you will either be given instructions to begin your fertility drugs, or instructions to wait for a certain date within the three weeks following the start of your period to begin a medication to allow the Doctors the opportunity to optimize your ovaries for the fertility drugs that will follow.
Step 2 - Ovarian Stimulation
Step 2 involves the administration of fertility medications designed to allow your ovaries to begin the growth of the several eggs that will be removed for subsequent freezing. During this phase, you will be self-administering daily fertility injections to allow for the successful production of multiple healthy eggs. You will be shown how to take these injectable medications prior to using them. While taking these medications, you will need to be seen for painless ultrasound studies and blood tests 3-4 times over the 10-12 day period these medicines are being used. These studies may be carried out near your home, or at any of our offices.
Step 3 - Egg Retrieval
After your eggs have been determined to have matured adequately, you will be scheduled for the surgical harvesting of your eggs. This is done by the Doctor at our facilities. In nearly all instances, the procedure is carried out with a light sedative and pain medication that allows for a very rapid recovery. You will be discharged from the office when it has been determined that you are stable, usually within 1-3 hours of your procedure.
Step 4 - Oocyte Cryopreservation
After your eggs have been recovered, they are prepared in our cryopreservation laboratory by the embryologist and who will assure the healthy appearance of the eggs and begin the process of preparing the eggs for freezing. We use the most advanced "vitrification" (snap freezing)techniques for egg freezing that are providing success rates far superior to earlier "slow freezing" methods. The freezing process rapidly lowers the temperature of human eggs to a point where all metabolic processes (aging) is halted.
Step 5 - Oocyte Storage
Following the freezing process, your eggs will be transferred to a liquid nitrogen storage chamber where they are able to be effectively stored in the frozen state. The initial, short term storage of your eggs will occur at our facility, however long term storage will be required at a special "cryobank" which is a facility where long term secure maintenance of frozen human specimens occurs. You will be given information concerning a contract that you will need to enter into providing for the long-term storage of your eggs.
Step 6 - Thaw and Use of Your Frozen Eggs
When the time arrives for you to use your cryopreserved eggs, you will need to make arrangements with our facility at least 3 months in advance of the time you desire the eggs to be thawed and fertilized. It must be remembered that the eggs have been frozen UNFERTILIZED, and that the fertilization of previously frozen eggs requires special techniques and handling. The successful fertilization of cryopreserved eggs is greatly enhanced by the use of a process called "ICSI" (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). Utilizing this method assures the best chance for the fertilization of the eggs and their subsequent development into healthy embryos with the potential to produce an ongoing pregnancy. When we are contacted by you with a request for use of the frozen eggs, we will begin making the arrangements for the treatment cycle required to assure the best chance for a successful pregnancy outcome for you.
The cryopreservation of your eggs is a separate procedure unrelated to the long term storage of the frozen eggs or later treatment required to thaw, fertilize and return to you the fertilized embryos. A separate fee ($300 yearly) is required for the long term storage of the eggs as well as for the subsequent treatment course for the thaw and use of the frozen eggs ($3,000). All fees subject to change.
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