Preserving a woman's fertility with advanced oocyte cryopreservation
Advances in Egg Freezing (Oocyte Cryopreservation)
Exciting new advances in the ability to successfully cryopreserve (freeze) human eggs now allows us the option of extending the fertility of women far beyond nature's boundaries. You can now have your eggs frozen and stored for use at a later time in life while still maintaining the fertility potential of a younger woman. World renowned scientists, physicians and cryobiologists have come together at the Fertility Institutes to offer patients with a variety of medical indications or a simple desire to do so, the ability to preserve their fertility by suspending their eggs in time. We also offer those women in need of donor eggs the choice of frozen, prescreened frozen eggs donated by young volunteer University students.
Egg Freezing Program Candidacy
Scientists working at the Fertility Institutes have further refined the egg freezing process to allow women of all ages from all corners of the world the ability to participate in our program. For those interested in freezing their own eggs, evidence suggests egg freezing to work best for younger women. Our experience thus far with oocyte cryopreservation allows us to provide you with the following guidelines for determining if egg freezing may work for you:
Group "A" Candidates
- Best -- excellent chances for success
- Under age 35 years
- A serum FSH "fertility thermostat" value less than 7.1 mIU/ml on cycle day 3. Satisfactory ovarian reserve testing. If being treated for cancer, no prior exposure to chemo or radiation therapy.
Group "B+" Candidates
- Good chances for success
- Ages 35-37 years
- Serum FSH "fertility thermostat" value less than 8.1 mIU/ml on cycle day 3. Satisfactory ovarian reserve testing. If being treated for cancer, short term, limited exposure to radiation or chemotherapy with no direct radiation of ovaries.
Group "C" Candidates
- Moderate chances for success
- Ages 37.5-39 years
- Serum FSH "fertility thermostat" value between 7.1 and 9.0 mIU/ml on cycle day 3. Satisfactory ovarian reserve testing. If being treated for cancer, short term, limited exposure to radiation or chemotherapy with no direct radiation of ovaries.
Group "C-" Candidates
- Some guarded chance of success
- Ages 39.1 to 40 years
- Serum FSH "fertility thermostat" between 5.0 and 8.5 mIU/ml on cycle day 3. Satisfactory ovarian reserve testing. If being treated for cancer, no more than short term, limited exposure to radiation or chemotherapy with no direct radiation of ovaries.
- Age over 40 years or any woman with unsatisfactory ovarian reserve testing outcomes.
- Serum FSH "fertility thermostat" levels greater than 10.0 mIU/ml on cycle day 3 If being treated for cancer, extended chemotherapy or direct radiation of the ovaries. You can find other programs that will freeze your eggs at this age, but there are NO reports from anywhere in the world that such freezing offers a reasonable chance for success.
Steps in the Egg Freezing 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.NOTE: The cryopreservation of your eggs is a separate procedure unrelated to the long term storage of the frozen eggs for 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.
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" (intrascreeningcytoplasmic 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 Use of Egg Freezing to Pause the Biological Clock
For younger women seeking to guard and extend their fertility, egg freezing offers perhaps the greatest advance in fertility preservation in the history of modern medicine. Every day, modern informed, forward looking women are helping assure their future fertility potential at our center. Unlike many unproven programs offering egg freezing as a new venture, the Fertility Institutes have many, many healthy babies born following oocyte cryopreservation.
We offer what we believe to be among the most affordable prices anywhere for this technology thanks to a combination of limited time industry research grants and internal incentives that subsidize the costs of services for all patients. You will receive services that may cost as much as three times more at similar programs and still be able to have your care delivered by the finest team of fertility specialists. The simplest way to get right to the point is to fill out the inquiry form below or call our offices in New York or Los Angeles toll free at 800-222-2802. Experienced egg freezing counselors will provide you with all of the options and get you started on your route to preserving your fertility potential.
For those in need of donor eggs, it is our hope that this new process will eliminate the concern over donor availability by obtaining and freezing a large selection of donor eggs from highly qualified university donors. Such cryopreservation additionally adds to the safety of egg donation. We have received research funding that allows us to offer investigational cryopreserved donor eggs to qualified recipients at a reduced charge. If interested, please call today.
In the past, in recognition of the opinion of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) that egg freezing be deemed investigational, our center operated all of it's oocyte cryopreservation protocols under an approved IRB research protocol. It is vitally important for those considering egg freezing to assure that a center that they choose to provide these services has done so initially under the observant eye of such an "institutional review board (IRB)". This term indicates that all work on the cryopreservation and storage of eggs was done using techniques that attempt to assure your best chances for success as well as for the long term safety of your eggs. Many current egg freezing programs in the U.S. never took the extra effort to conduct their initial work with cryopreservation with I.R.B. oversight. Though egg freezing is no longer considered "investigational" we feel it a good measure of safety to ask any program you may be considering for cryopreservation to show you their initial I.R.B. certificate. In this way you may rest assured that all proper actions were taken by the egg freezing program in developing their scientific efforts. Our center maintained IRB approval through our entire history with cryopreservation and our certificate is available upon request.
We concur with the current fertility society consensus that women should be fully advised that egg freezing while young, while offering excellent prospects for sustained fertility later in or even beyond their normal reproductive lives, does not guarantee that their fertility will be achievable at a later date based solely upon their use of cryopreserved eggs.
Enrollment in Our Egg Freezing Program
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 oocyte cryopreservation 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.