Egg Freezing

Also called “egg (or oocyte) vitrification, egg cryopreservation and egg storage”

What is egg freezing? This is a fertility treatment that collects eggs from the body and stores them for future use by freezing them with a technique called vitrification. The eggs are collected through IVF treatment. These eggs can be thawed out (or warmed) in the future and fertilized with sperm to produce embryos. These embryos can then be placed inside the prepared womb (uterus) to give a chance of pregnancy. Egg freezing effectively suspends the egg in time, to preserve fertility, until later when the woman wishes a pregnancy.

Who might need egg freezing?
Anyone can choose to freeze some of their eggs. Often women will urgently consider egg freezing if they have a medical condition that can reduce their eggs or damage their eggs in some way, for example;
  • before cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy or pelvic radiotherapy that are likely to lead to partial or complete egg loss
  • before surgery to remove the ovaries, e.g. endometriosis or ovarian cysts
  • women with a family history of early menopause
  • other rare medical conditions and drug treatments that might affect a woman’s eggs
Many women now consider egg freezing as part of their planning on when they would like to have a family. If you wish to delay having children until your late 30’s or 40’s then egg freezing is a good choice as female fertility declines quickly as a woman gets older. Freezing eggs when a woman is young and healthy may give a better chance of a future pregnancy.
What is involved in egg freezing?
  • STEP ONE - Free nurse consultation.  A blood test to assess your current egg levels along with some other basic tests is needed. Information on the process is also given.
  • STEP TWO – Doctors appointment.  The doctor will review your situation in detail and go through the options you have. Egg freezing has different success rates for everyone and it is important that you understand what the treatment will mean for you.
  • STEP THREE – Preparing for treatment Before IVF treatment you will need to have some routine blood tests and complete consent forms. It is also helpful to understand the process clearly, so we ask you to attend a free IVF nurse discussion to go through your treatment in detail. A free appointment with our clinic counselors is also available and recommended for everyone considering this treatment.
  • STEP FOUR– Having your treatment to collect and free eggs. IVF treatment involves growing eggs by using fertility injections for between 8-14 days, followed by the egg collection procedure. See information sheet on IVF (LC63).
  • STEP FIVE – Having your treatment to thaw your eggs and transfer your embryo. When you are ready to try for a pregnancy you will have the treatment of preparing you for an embryo transfer and having the eggs thawed out and fertilised with sperm.
How well does egg freezing work?

Egg freezing does work to create babies, however only a small number of women have been through this procedure worldwide. At the moment it is difficult to give reliable success rates. Generally, the younger a woman is at egg freezing, the better her chance of a pregnancy from the eggs will be. If good quality eggs are frozen an average of 75% will survive the thawing process. Fertilisation then occurs in 60-70% of these thawed eggs. This means that it is best to freeze ten or more eggs in one treatment cycle to have a reasonable chance of a pregnancy in the future. Worldwide, data at present shows that babies born from frozen eggs have no increase in abnormalities or birth defects.

How long is it safe to store frozen eggs?

The length of time that the eggs are frozen does not seem to affect the success rate of achieving a pregnancy or healthy birth. We store both embryos and eggs for five years and can extend this time period when required.

How much does egg freezing cost?
There are four main costs to consider in egg freezing;
  1. The initial cost to see the doctor and have the tests required before treatment can start (around TT$2000)
  2. The IVF procedure and medications needed to collect and store the eggs. The price for egg-freezing IVF is TT$27,700 (US$4080) for everyone. The price for the egg-growing medications varies for everyone and depends on your age and egg level (as measured in the AMH blood test). The price for this varies between TT$16,000 - $32,600.
  3. Your cycle includes one year of storage for your eggs. After one year then you can choose to pay the annual storage fee (TT$2500/year as of 2024) or the 5-year storage package (TT$10,000 as of 2024). NB these storage fees will increase over time.
  4. The thawing procedure and embryo transfer treatment when you are ready for pregnancy (around TT$15-20,000 as of 2024)
These costs are different for everyone and we can advise you of the likely costs at the present time in the clinic, after your assessments.
What are the risks of egg freezing?

There are the risks of going through an IVF treatment to consider (see info sheet LC63). Also, as egg freezing is still a relatively new technique not all eggs will survive the freezing and thawing process or become fertilised by sperm.

Will there be any follow up by clinic staff?

We understand that this can be a difficult and emotional time for you.  Should you wish to access any supportive counselling regarding this treatment please contact our reception staff at either office to make an appointment.

The clinic will write to you annually to check that you are well and find out if you wish to keep the eggs in storage. The eggs are subject to an annual storage fee, currently TT$2500 but this could increase over time, for the upkeep of the eggs storage solution (liquid nitrogen) and for safe monitoring.

Where can I get more information? A UK government website with good advice on all fertility treatments A USA website from experts in North American clinics