Egg freezing (Oocyte cryopreservation)
By freezing (cryopreserving) and storing unfertilized eggs (oocytes), it is possible to help women maintain and lengthen their fertility. Cryopreserving one’s own eggs for future use is called self-donation.
Why would you want to choose to freeze your own eggs?
There are many reasons for choosing or needing to postpone starting a family. For example, there can be medical reasons where it is not advisable to become pregnant (needing to take certain medications, needing an operation, etc.). In such cases, the Swedish healthcare system will usually pay for freezing eggs. Other reasons can be a woman’s social situation or that she wants to wait to start a family until the age when fertility declines. A woman can have ethical or religious reasons for not wanting to freeze embryos during IVF treatment. In such cases, the Swedish healthcare system will not cover the costs. However, it is permitted to do this privately.
Who can freeze her eggs?
The decision to freeze eggs is based on an individual’s chances. Age, your egg reserve (AMH) and your medical chances of becoming pregnant determine if it is advisable.
What is included in the fertility investigation?
Before freezing your eggs, you will meet with a specialist for a consultation and to determine your chances.
How is treatment done?
Treatment is performed like a regular IVF: the ovaries are stimulated with hormones that are taken as injections for about 9-12 days and thereafter, the eggs are retrieved while you are given painkillers. The mature eggs are then cryopreserved the same day. Using vitrification, a method to cryopreserve the eggs, they are stored in liquid nitrogen where they do not age.
How long are eggs allowed to be stored?
As of yet, there are no laws in Sweden regulating how long eggs can be stored. However, one needs to determine if there are risks during pregnancy. This means that it is not recommended to transfer a fertilized egg to a woman over 45 years old.
How high is the chance of becoming pregnant and having a child when the eggs are used?
Just as with IVF, it is impossible to determine exactly how the outcome will be and what the chances for success are. The results are generally about the same as after an IVF but the method is relatively new and large studies have not been done. It is very important that a woman who has frozen her eggs understands that there is no guarantee that the eggs will survive the thawing process nor that there will be a pregnancy when the eggs are used.
Unfortunately, not all eggs are of high quality. The chance of success using frozen eggs is related to the age of the women and her egg reserve (AMH levels). It is the age at the egg retrieval that is the most important factor for pregnancy success not the age at which she uses the eggs. The age factor is quite important especially after the age of 35 years. Thus, this method works poorly for women over 40 year of age.
The survival rate of eggs after freezing is between 80-90%, depending on the woman’s age at freezing. Eggs from younger women have a higher survival rate. The chance of becoming pregnant is also related to the age of the woman when the eggs were frozen. In a study from Spain (Cobo et al, Fertil Steril, 2016), the chance of obtaining a child per transfer among eggs frozen at the woman’s age of 30-34 years was 30-40%; at 35-39 years was 25-30% and only one of 27 women (3.7%) had a child in the group 40 years or older. Additionally, if one has many eggs available, the chance of getting pregnant and having a child increases. It is advantageous to have 15-20 eggs available.
Are there risks with freezing eggs?
Several thousand treatments have been done using frozen eggs. According to the studies existing today, there is no evidence that using cryopreserved eggs presents any increased risk compared with “common IVF pregnancies” or with natural conception.
How long is the waiting list to freeze eggs at the Carl von Linné Clinic and what are the costs?
Treatment can usually begin within 3-6 weeks. You can find information about prices here. The medication used for treatment is usually not covered by the Swedish healthcare system.
Feel free to contact us at 018-550044 (within Sweden) or 004618550044 (outside of Sweden) or send us an e-mail at PGEgY2xhc3MgPSAibF9tYWlsIGxfbmV3X3dpbmRvdyIgaHJlZj0ibWFpbHRvOmluZm8uY3Zsa0BsaW5uZS5zZT9zdWJqZWN0PcOEZ2dmcnlzbmluZyIgdGFyZ2V0PV9ibGFuaz5pbmZvLmN2bGtAbGlubmUuc2U8L2E+.