Oocyte cryopreservation, also called egg freezing, is a way for women to preserve their fertility. It involves extracting, freezing, and storing their eggs (oocytes). It is an increasingly popular option for women who want to delay childbirth (elective/social egg freezing) for various reasons, or preserve their fertility for medical reasons (medical egg freezing). Medical egg freezing is typically used when a woman has been diagnosed with cancer or another medical condition that may affect her fertility. In these cases, egg freezing can help preserve her fertility so that she may still have the opportunity to become pregnant in the future. On the other hand, elective egg freezing is done for non-medical reasons, such as delaying starting a family due to career or lifestyle choices.
While egg freezing does not guarantee a successful pregnancy, it can give women more control over their reproductive health and timeline. Here are some common reasons why some women consider egg freezing:
The egg freezing process begins with hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once the eggs have matured, they are retrieved transvaginally through a minor surgical procedure called oocyte pick up (OPU). The eggs are then inspected by an embryologist and only the viable healthy ones are frozen using a special technique called vitrification. The frozen eggs can then be stored indefinitely until the patient is ready to use them.
When the patient is ready to use her frozen eggs, they will be thawed and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory setting to create embryos. These embryos can then be transferred into the uterus where implantation may occur resulting in pregnancy. It is important to note that while egg freezing allows women to preserve their fertility, it does not always guarantee a successful pregnancy.
Egg freezing in Singapore has become a popular topic of discussion in recent years as women increasingly explore options to preserve their fertility. As the egg freezing process in Singapore is subject to certain restrictions and regulations, here are some to take note of:
The probability of successful egg freezing is influenced by various factors, such as:
Age is one of the most important factors in determining egg freezing success rates. Younger women are more likely to have successful pregnancies from frozen eggs than older women.
Generally speaking, women under the age of 35 have an approximately 18% chance of having a baby when five eggs are frozen, while those over the age of 35 only have an approximately 7% chance. Hence, it is very important for women considering egg freezing to do so earlier if possible.
The number of eggs frozen also affects egg freezing success rates. The more eggs a woman has frozen, the more embryos there will be to potentially transfer to the woman’s uterus, and hence the higher her chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.
However, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that all frozen eggs will be viable – some may not survive the freezing, thawing or fertilization processes.
Other factors that can affect egg freezing success rates include how well they were preserved during storage. Different egg freezing clinics and hospitals may have different standards and equipment for preserving and handling frozen eggs, which can affect outcomes. Patients need to research the facility’s resources and track record carefully before deciding where they will freeze their eggs.
As with all medical procedures, there are some risks involved. With egg freezing, risks may include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), infection, as well as bleeding and damage to the ovaries or uterus. However, the chances of these happening are rare in the hands of an experienced egg freezing doctor.
Additionally, there is no guarantee that the eggs will survive the thawing process or result in a successful pregnancy.
It is also important to consider the cost of egg freezing. The procedure can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Additionally, storage fees for frozen eggs can add up over time and should be considered when deciding where to freeze one’s eggs and the duration one wishes to freeze their eggs for.
The main factor determining the cost of egg freezing is whether you opt to do it at a public or private hospital. Other factors include: the number of eggs retrieved, the number of egg retrieval cycles one has undergone, as well as annual storage fees for the frozen eggs.
Generally speaking, the cost per egg retrieval cycle at public hospitals is between $7,000 to $9,000 on average; with an annual storage charge of approximately $500.
At private clinics and hospitals, the average cost per egg retrieval cycle can range from around $10,000 to $15,000 on average; with an annual storage charge of approximately $900.
Finally, when the time comes to use the eggs, one will also have to factor in the cost of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) as the thawed eggs will have to be fertilized with sperm in the fertility centre. The resulting embryos will then be transferred into the woman’s uterus in hope of achieving a successful implantation and pregnancy.