Egg/Oocyte Freezing

Since the birth of First test tube baby in 1978, there has been lot of advancement in the field of ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques), which has helped scores of infertile couple to attain parenthood. Oocyte (egg) freezing is one of these advancements which is focused on saving eggs in girls and young women for future childbearing.

Egg freezing has become an essential part of ART and since the first reported live birth following this procedure in 1986, this method is being used for various medical, legal and social reasons. These indications include:

Cancer /precancerous condition at young Age:

Around 2% of women in their reproductive age suffer from cancer and are at risk of having ovarian failure after receiving Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy as a treatment modality. For many cancers, the chance of surviving is steadily increasing and is now at around 80% and so many women have started to focus on quality of life aspects after treatment and possibility of having their own children is one among them. Egg freezing is the only way by which they can fulfill their wish. Besides cancerous condition, women who are BRCA1 and BRCA2 positive (high risk for cancer), can also freeze their eggs for fertility preservation.

Premature Ovarian Failure/Insufficiency:

Women with genetic conditions which may lead to premature ovarian failure (Turner’s Syndrome, fragile X syndrome etc.) and women with diagnosed Ovarian insufficiency/low ovarian reserve, who want to postpone their childbearing can benefit from egg freezing.

Delaying Motherhood:

With the increase in woman’s age there is a decrease in fertility because the number as well as the quality of eggs decline(especially after the age of 35 years). So women who are above the age of 30 years and want to delay their motherhood either because of demanding career or in absence of stable relationship or are single/divorcee may wish to freeze and preserve their eggs for future pregnancies.

Avoids legal and ethical restrictions of embryo cryopreservation:

In certain countries, there is a restriction of freezing embryos due to moral or religious beliefs. In such situations, oocyte freezing could benefit the couples.

At risk of losing ovarian reserve:

Women who are suffering from such medical conditions or taking treatments (medical or surgical) that might impair or destroy the proper functioning of ovaries(eg. Rheumatological conditions, endometriosis) should consider freezing their eggs if they want to postpone the childbearing

In short, egg freezing technique has come as a boon to young women who need emergency fertility preservation or want to control their parenthood without compromising on oocyte age.

Dr. Soma Singh
Senior Consultant
Department of IVF & Infertility
Book an Appointment