How to Choose an Egg Freezing Center?
Advances in assisted reproductive technology have provided more options and flexibility for family planning and fertility preservation than ever before. Over the past decade, the process of egg freezing has developed from an experimental procedure to common practice. So how do you choose an egg freezing center that is right for you?
Let’s start with the basics, what is egg freezing?
Egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation is a treatment option in which a woman’s eggs are retrieved and then frozen for later use. When you are ready to use those eggs, they will be thawed (technically called warmed) and then fertilized with sperm from a partner or donor to create an embryo. The ability to flash freeze (vitrify) and thaw (warm) eggs now make the process of egg freezing routine for both medical and social reasons.
Why freeze your eggs?
Women elect to freeze their eggs for a number of reasons, including to counteract declining ovarian function, to preserve optimal egg viability for future family building, or to preserve fertility in the presence of health conditions that may impact fertility.
How to choose an egg freezing center?
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing an egg freezing center, including:
- Skills of the physician
- Kindness of the staff
- Quality of the laboratory
- Where the frozen eggs are stored
- How the frozen eggs are stored
- Success rates of the center’s fertility services
While some programs have advertised “low-cost fertility” or “discounted egg freezing,” you should be aware that the likelihood of successful thawing (warming) must be incorporated in any financial consideration.
Why the lab you choose matters?
The experience of a laboratory in performing all aspects of high-quality IVF is important in egg vitrification and warming. Rigorous attention to detail by the embryology scientists, optimal ventilation and air quality, adherence to standard operating procedures, continuous measurement of quality assurance and quality control indicators, and meticulous data collection and analysis are all necessary to create the most efficient and successful IVF laboratory. Egg preservation is a newer area of practice in assisted reproductive technology built on the framework of IVF laboratory services. The ability of a laboratory to grow high-quality embryos is critical to properly process an egg for warming.
While more than 10,000 babies have been born worldwide from frozen eggs, it’s important to know whether a clinic has demonstrated the ability to thaw, fertilize, and transfer eggs that were frozen. In other words, success is measured not by the freezing statistics, but by the ultimate survival, fertilization, and the implantation rates of the resulting embryos so that you are able to successfully achieve a pregnancy with the eggs you froze.
Other factors to consider when choosing an egg freezing center
Many of the top fertility laboratories have added a level of precision to their offerings with the introduction of genomic medicine. Once you decide you are ready to fertilize (use) your frozen eggs, it is common to assess the newly created embryo’s health prior to implantation. This is performed by analyzing the cells of the embryo that will develop into the placenta. The process of preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) involves analysis of the embryonic DNA by using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). Sequencing the embryo’s DNA allows the fertility specialist to assess the health of an embryo prior to transfer and implantation. In general, an egg freezing program should have the ability to not only preserve your eggs but to possess the skills and experience to someday allow you to successfully utilize them.
While there are no guarantees that the eggs that are frozen are normal, will survive thawing, or that the thawed eggs will develop into embryos that will result in successful pregnancies, it is important to choose a quality full-service laboratory that uses state-of-the-art technology to give you the best chance of success. It’s important to educate yourself and ask detailed questions to ensure you are selecting the best egg freezing center for you. Demand excellence and use the data available to you (sart.org) to help drive your decision to make an educated choice that will optimize your reproductive journey and help you meet your future reproductive goals.
Join us for a free Egg Freezing 101 seminar to learn more.