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A Simple, Step-by-Step Guide to the Egg Freezing Process

In a previous article, we learned about egg freezing, including how a woman’s eggs are extracted, frozen and stored for future use, who should consider egg freezing, and how safe is egg freezing for women (read our introductory article about egg freezing here).

In this article, we will go into further details on What exactly are the steps of the egg freezing process, When are they done, and how exactly the eggs are frozen?  You will find all the answers here, step by step below.

1. Your First Consultation

When: Whenever you are ready to have an appointment

How long: 45 – 60 minutes

First you will have to meet with a doctor at the fertility clinic. The doctor will review your medical history, guide you through the process, and answer any questions you may have about the procedures.

Here are some tips on what questions to ask:  Does the clinic have experience in freezing eggs and, importantly, thawing eggs? How many eggs may be expected from one retrieval? Is there a chance you may need more than one cycle of egg freezing? What is the cost of the procedure? Or you can just ask the doctor to walk you through all the steps for a better understanding about all the procedures. 

Be aware that the answers to some specific questions, such as how many eggs may be expected from your cycle, or how many cycles you will need to get a sufficient number of eggs, may just be an initial estimation, and your doctor will be able to predict and plan more accurately after doing some initial blood tests and a physical examination.

2. Initial Blood Tests and Examination.

When: Day 2 or 3 of your period

How long: 30 minutes

After discussing everything with your doctor, he or she will make an appointment for you to come to the clinic again on day 2 or day 3 of your period, to have blood tests and an ultrasound scan. As mentioned above, after getting the results of these initial blood tests and examination, your doctor will be able to answer more specific questions about your egg freezing process, such as; the cost per retrieval, number of expected eggs, and your overall chance of success.

Should you decide to proceed to treatment, you can start the same day. The doctor or the nurse will help you prepare for “The Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring Phase”, the stage at which you will receive fertility medications daily, usually injections, to stimulate your ovary to produce many follicles (small sacs of fluid in the ovaries that contains a developing egg), or more simply, to stimulate your ovary to produce as many eggs as possible.

The fertility medications are usually self-administered. The nurse will teach you how to self-administer the fertility shots

Of course, you may decide to wait and start on day 2 or day 3 of a subsequent menses cycle

3. The Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring Phase

When: Day 2 or 3 of your period

How long: 10 – 12 days

Once you start having fertility shots, which you will take for about 10 to 12 days, you will be asked to revisit the clinic for more blood tests and ultrasound scans every few days to monitor how your ovaries are responding to the fertility drugs. Once the testing shows that your follicles have grown to a size indicating your eggs are mature, your doctor will administer a “trigger shot” or a hormone (usually either human chorionic gonadotropin; hCG, or leuprolide acetate; Lupron) to help complete the egg maturation process, releasing them from the wall of the follicle so that they can be retrieved.

4. Retrieval and Storage

When: 36 hours after the “trigger shot”

How long: 60 minutes

36 hours after your trigger shot, your eggs will be retrieved (egg retrieval, OPU) through a minor surgical procedure to aspirate your follicles, in which a doctor will use ultrasound imaging to guide a thin needle through your pelvic captivity to remove or retrieve your eggs. The procedure will be done under general anesthesia to keep the process comfortable and painless.

Once your doctor has successfully collected all the eggs, you will be sent to the recovery room to recuperate from the anesthesia. After 1-2 hours you will be discharged and advised to continue resting at home.

Just a few hours after retrieval, all of your eggs which are fully matured will be frozen using a process called Vitrification, a technique in which your eggs will be frozen ultra-rapidly, so that the water molecules don’t have time to form ice crystals, and then held in deep frozen storage. This results in a long-lasting, high-quality preservation of your eggs indefinitely, if held in a high-quality and, well-maintained laboratory with consistent, regular quality control and monitoring of the amount of the liquid nitrogen and the integrity of the equipment. At this point, your egg freezing process is considered complete.

Once you are ready to become a mother, at some time in the future, some of your eggs can be thawed, fertilized with your partners sperm, cultured as an embryo in the laboratory, and then transferred to your uterus to implant, develop and grow into a healthy baby, through processes such as IVF or ICSI.

About Superior A.R.T.

Superior A.R.T. was founded in 2007 by a group of leading Thai Infertility specialists in collaboration with Australian world leading fertility and A.R.T. treatment providers,. Superior A.R.T is a renowned fertility clinic offering comprehensive fertility and genetic services by a team of experienced treatment providers and researchers specifically specializing in Assisted Reproduction Technology – A.R.T. Superior A.R.T. is committed to making your dream of having a healthy baby come true.



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