Expert answers to your Egg Freezing questions
Program enrollment for qualified individuals is on a first-come, first-served basis. Due to the extraordinary amount of individualized effort devoted to each case, once the monthly limit on patient enrollees has been exceeded, patients waiting to begin will roll over to the following month. Please remember that from the onset of a menstrual period, there is as much as a 21-day hold on treatment while your ovaries are prepared for the necessary stimulation medications. It is suggested that all patients enroll as soon as they are certain of their desire to freeze their eggs and provide us their preferred treatment month. We will do everything possible to accommodate scheduling needs. Due to the laboratory preparation time and expense required for egg freezing, patients that have not paid their initial treatment fee deposits will not be eligible for treatment until 30 days after the initial laboratory deposit fees are paid.
Patients facing chemo or radiation therapy may be admitted to our "FAST-TRACK" program at no additional charge. This allows an immediate start with the beginning of the next menstrual period, with a significant fee reduction and treatment completed in under two weeks. ("FAST-TRACK" will require coordination with your oncologist, which will also be provided at no additional charge)
Studies have shown that there is tremendous variability in the ability of eggs to tolerate the freezing process. They have also shown that within a single group of eggs frozen, some will survive and others will not. In those that do survive the freeze and later thaw, some will fertilize when exposed to sperm and others will not. We are working very hard to minimize the variability in responses seen in individual patients and their eggs. The prior survival and fertilization of eggs is a good predictor of subsequent performance as long as a long lapse between procedures (and an increase in the age of the patient) has not occurred.
The experience thus far with frozen eggs indicates that there can never be "too many" eggs frozen in the pursuit of pregnancy delay. An important lesson learned from our success with frozen eggs is that it is best to be prepared to encounter a percentage of eggs obtained from an egg harvest either not suitable for freezing or unable to survive the treatment of the eggs necessary to assure their long-term survival while frozen. We highly recommend at least two to four stimulation cycles to allow for an sizeable number of oocytes to be gathered and frozen.
Once ready for harvest, your eggs will be collected at our medical office. Egg recovery is very similar to the methods we use to obtain eggs for standard in vitro fertilization. You will be administered a light sedative and will have the eggs recovered through the vagina employing a small, very accurate ultrasound guide that will allow the Doctor to gently drain the follicles containing your eggs. The procedure lasts about 20-30 minutes. You will remain in our recovery area for about an additional one hour or until the Doctor clears you for discharge. You will need to take things easy for about 2 weeks, though most people return to their regular activities a day or two after the procedure.
Immediately after they are frozen, your eggs will be placed into one of our liquid nitrogen storage containers for safe-keeping until transport to a long term storage facility can be arranged. Due to the high volume of eggs we are freezing, we are unable to provide extended term storage, but will instead arrange with you transfer of your eggs to a long term cryobank storage facility. These facilities are licensed by the State of California and have all the mechanisms in place to assure the safe long-term cryopreservation of your eggs. Should you later wish to have your eggs shipped frozen to an alternate facility, the cryobank is prepared to assist you with this. You will be provided with the paperwork needed to assist you in arranging for the transport of your eggs.
This question has not yet been answered. Animal studies indicate that, in some instances the viability of frozen eggs may decrease over time. Human egg freezing is relatively new. This is one of the important questions that needs to be answered. Frozen eggs will clearly remain viable for months, and in the case of eggs from younger women, years. Frozen human sperm have been shown to remain viable and capable of producing healthy pregnancies for decades. We encourage all women freezing eggs to place the use of their frozen eggs in the future on a very high priority schedule as we, at this time, simply do not know how long frozen eggs will maintain their ability to produce a healthy pregnancy outcome.
Once enrolled in our program, at your request, we can interface with a fertility center near your home to assist us in the management of your treatment cycle. Once they agree to assist (never a problem), we will provide them with a package of detailed medical information explaining how they may assist us in your preparation. You will present to their center as needed for the blood tests and ultrasound studies required to allow for the preparation of your eggs. They will provide us test results that will allow our physicians the ability to prescribe your ongoing treatment dosages and studies. In many instances, you may remain at home until the day prior to your actual egg recovery.
Except in the case of patients undergoing treatment for cancer, we know of no insurer that covers this treatment.
Simply give us a call. You can reach us toll free from anywhere in the U.S. or Canada at 800-222-2802. From abroad, we can be contacted at (818) 728-4600. Your entry into our program will start with a consultation visit to our facility or telephone consultation with our physician. After being cleared for participation, your treatment cycle may begin.
If you are being treated for any disease requiring chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the pelvis, please have you treating physician contact us to arrange for expedited processing of your enrollment. We can often make arrangements for your immediate entry into our program following a brief phone conversation with your treating physician. We have private cancer foundation grant funds to assist a limited number of women with cancer with the financial aspects of their treatment. Highly discounted, subsidized fees may be available to women with cancer of the reproductive tract. Please call us for details.
We look forward to working with you in your quest to preserve the well being of your eggs and the future of your reproductive potential. Thank you for your interest in our program.