What Fertility Sufferers Ought to Know About Egg Freezing

What Fertility Sufferers Ought to Know About Egg Freezing

Which means there aren’t sufficient circumstances to guage and give you strong information on the percentages of success. It additionally implies that many clinics that freeze eggs shouldn’t have expertise thawing them.

Eggs are trickier to thaw efficiently than embryos, specialists stated. An egg is one cell, the biggest cell within the physique, and accommodates a whole lot of fluid and a construction referred to as a spindle, which helps manage the chromosomes. A five-day-old embryo is similar measurement, however accommodates greater than 100 cells, every of which is much less susceptible to break.

“Egg freezing has been a lot tougher to crack due to the scale that they’re, the water content material, and that spindle,” stated Dr. Janis Fox, an assistant professor of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Harvard and Brigham and Ladies’s Hospital.

The expertise it is best to ask for

A change in freezing expertise lately has made issues simpler. The earlier method, sluggish freezing, might create ice crystals, which might injury the eggs after they had been thawed, stated Dr. Randi Goldman, a scientific teacher of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Harvard and Brigham and Ladies’s. A number of years in the past, clinics started utilizing a course of referred to as vitrification, by which the temperature of the eggs within the liquid nitrogen is dropped so shortly that they’re frozen “really in a matter of a second,” Dr. Goldman stated. Eggs frozen by that methodology are much less susceptible to break when thawed.

“You must ask if a clinic is doing vitrification, however that’s desk stakes,” Mr. Anderson stated. “If somebody says they’re not doing vitrification, it is best to run the opposite approach.”

Clinics which have expertise thawing eggs have typically labored with donor eggs from younger girls of their 20s. These eggs could also be extra more likely to thaw with out injury, and are undoubtedly extra more likely to produce wholesome pregnancies and infants.


Amin Khabani, embryology laboratory director at Pacific NW Fertility. There are 450 to 500 fertility clinics in the US. Whereas greater than 20,000 American girls have had their eggs frozen, the overwhelming majority haven’t had their eggs thawed.

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Ruth Fremson/The New York Occasions

Final 12 months, Dr. Goldman and Dr. Fox printed a research based mostly on a mathematical mannequin that makes an attempt to predict a woman’s chances of giving birth to a child from eggs that she has frozen. Their publicly obtainable calculator components within the girl’s age (the older she is the decrease her possibilities) and the variety of eggs she has frozen (the extra the higher). Their research estimates an 85 p.c profitable thaw price for ladies who had been 36 and over after they froze their eggs, 95 p.c for ladies who had been beneath 36.

However thawing with out injury doesn’t imply a child will in the end be born. After thawing, an egg should be fertilized with sperm within the lab utilizing a course of referred to as intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI.

“I feel sufferers could also be beneath the misimpression that we’re simply going to place the eggs again in your physique,” Dr. Fox stated.

Removed from it. An egg should be fertilized, grown into an embryo for about 5 days, screened for genetic abnormalities after which implanted within the womb and carried to time period. The percentages of success at every step are far under 100 p.c.

Dr. Fox and Dr. Goldman’s calculator, for instance, predicts {that a} 36-year-old girl who freezes 10 eggs has a 60 p.c probability of at the very least one reside beginning. A 2016 study by researchers in Spain, which concerned 137 girls whose frozen eggs had been thawed, was much less optimistic, predicting that girls 36 and older who freeze ten eggs have a 29.7 p.c probability of giving beginning.

What are another elements of egg freezing to pay attention to?

Since youthful eggs usually tend to produce profitable pregnancies, girls may assume they need to freeze their eggs of their 20s. Dr. Goldman and Dr. Fox advise in opposition to that.

“Assuming you might have regular fertility and nothing uncommon in your loved ones historical past, there’s positively some extent the place it’s too early, and we don’t know what the shelf life of those eggs are,” stated Dr. Fox, who cited a study saying “the most effective age to do it was 34 however probably the most cost-effective age to do it was 37.”

Clinics must be accredited by both the Joint Fee on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations or the School of American Pathologists, which inspects clinics often, Dr. Racowsky stated. She and different specialists advocate clinics be affiliated with the Society of Assisted Reproductive Know-how, the main skilled group, which audits clinics and retains success price information.

It’s exhausting to check clinics as a result of they could serve totally different affected person populations. Lots of Pacific NW Fertility’s statistics are based mostly on “youthful eggs with out a fertility downside,” Dr. Lamb stated. Brigham and Ladies’s IVF clinic is likely one of the few clinics that can deal with very overweight girls, a inhabitants identified to have decrease success charges with in vitro fertilization, Dr. Racowsky stated.

Mr. Anderson recommends asking the clinic’s fertilization price — “if it’s under 70 p.c, it’s a nonstarter,” he stated — and it’s “embryo conversion price,” the share of fertilized eggs that develop into embryos. “Under 40 p.c it is best to stroll out the door; 40 to 50 p.c — that’s a keep, they’re competent.” Above 50 p.c, he stated, is “fairly spectacular.”

Additionally it is price asking what number of embryologists a clinic has, he and others stated. “There ought to at all times be at the very least two embryologists within the lab always,” Dr. Racowsky stated.

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