The term “biological clock”, and the ticking thereof, is a crude but widely-understood metaphor that refers to a scientific truth: a woman’s fertility is directly related to her age. While statistics vary, it remains a fact that a 30-year-old woman and her eggs have a far greater likelihood of maintaining fertility than a woman just a decade older.
Thanks to recent breakthroughs in reproductive health medicine, new advances are now giving women the opportunity of greatly extending their fertility window. One such technique is the use of cryopreservation, extracting and freezing a woman’s eggs for a potential pregnancy in the future, allowing women to better balance their careers and life situation before attempting to become pregnant.
Many women in their younger years can now choose to have their eggs extracted and cryopreserved so that their can maximize their chances of a successful pregnancy later in life. Cryo-storing some eggs also allows women to help alleviate fertility problems associated with pregnancies begun when they are older.
Although this technique is widely practiced in the United States, many people have questions about how cryopreservation is performed, and what the procedure entails.
In every woman, each individual egg is by far the largest cell in her body, which makes it extremely challenging to freeze and later thaw while maintaining viability. The procedure that doctors use is called vitrification, based on a Latin root for glass, as the process changes the cellular structure by “glass-ifying” the egg. Cryo-preservation begins by extracting the egg and then dehydrating it in an attempt to remove as much moisture as possible. Afterwards, the eggs are then deposited in a container of liquid nitrogen and rapidly cooled to a temperature of -200 Celsius.
The vitrification process has been shown to significantly improve the long-term survival of the egg and higher rates of successful pregnancies. At our facility, approximately 90% of all eggs collected and stored in cryo-preservation have successfully been later fertilized.
If you are a woman, and have considered cryo-storing your eggs for future pregnancies, and would like to learn more about this safe and effective procedure, do not hesitate to contact one of our clinics. Our trained and experienced staff will be happy to answer your questions, and to give you more information about the issues involved. We respect the privacy of all of our clients, and your fertility consultation will always be be treated with discretion.