No need for life to get in the way

No need for life to get in the way

23:02 23rd June 2016 | Oocyte Freezing

Young Woman Delay Pregnancy Child Rearing Mid-Thirties Fertilisation Female Fertility Future Pregnancy Ovary Oocytes Uterus Pregnancy Frozen Cryopreserved Eggs Thawing Frozen Embryo Transfer Premature Ovarian Deline Ovarian Reserve IUI Fertility Treatment Ovulation Stimulating Medication

You want to have a family but not right now. After all, you are young and want to develop your career, study abroad or travel while you have little to tie you down. Like many young women, you want to delay pregnancy and child rearing until you are in your mid-thirties. But is that too late? Suppose you find it difficult to become pregnant when you want to. Fortunately this need not be a problem. You can freeze your eggs so that they are available for fertilisation when you are ready.

Nowadays more and more women worldwide choose to freeze their eggs because they want to have a baby when it suits them. Female fertility declines with age and freezing your eggs in your twenties is the optimum time and the best way to insure your chance of a future pregnancy. Unlike the ovary and oocytes (eggs), the uterus does not age and can carry a pregnancy well into the 40s and 50s. Frozen or cryopreserved eggs are stored at -196 degrees, so the quality of the eggs does not deteriorate with time.

The egg is the largest cell in the human body and contains a large amount of water. When frozen, ice crystals can form that can destroy the cell. Today we dehydrate the eggs and replace the water with an ‘anti-freeze.’ The eggs are then flash-frozen in a process known as vitrification. Up to 10 eggs are frozen at any one time, out of which 7 are expected to survive the thaw and 5 to 6 are expected to fertilize and become embryos. Usually 3-4 embryos are transferred into the womb.

It is also possible to freeze embryos and transfer them into the womb in a process called Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). With FET, the eggs are fertilized by the sperm in the laboratory and then transferred into the womb

There is a condition called Premature Ovarian Decline which normally affects women in their thirties but can affect women in their twenties. This means that the ovaries no longer have healthy eggs or at least far fewer than desired. It is thus advisable to check the condition of your ovaries before you elect to freeze your eggs.We offer a series of hormone tests which assess your Ovarian Reserve and advise you to do this as a sensible precaution.

If you don’t want to freeze your eggs you might also consider Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). This is a fertility treatment where by prepared sperm cells are placed directly into the uterus when the woman is ovulating, by means of a catheter. This is a simple procedure which increases the chance of fertilization and is usually undertaken in conjunction with ovulation-stimulating medication.

Thinking ahead and taking the right steps rather than leaving things to chance is good advice for life. It is also good advice for you.

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