What does the egg freezing process look like?

A step-by-step walkthrough of the egg freezing process
Published on:
October 3, 2023

This article breaks down the entire egg freezing process into manageable stages, from fertility testing to the final egg retrieval. Whether you’re exploring this option for health, personal reasons, or career planning, our guide aims to make the journey more transparent and approachable for you.

Step 1

Fertility testing

To get an understanding of your fertility and anatomy and to create a tailored treatment plan, your provider will require you to perform some pre-treatment investigations.

The pre-treatment investigations include hormonal tests like AMH, FSH, and estradiol to gauge ovarian reserve; virology screenings to ensure the safety of stored eggs; and ultrasound scans, including antral follicle count and uterine evaluation, to provide a detailed overview of reproductive health.

Step 2

Birth control: 2-3 weeks

Clinics often recommend birth control to help your follicles grow at the same rate to assist with egg collection. It also helps with scheduling your travel to the clinic for the procedure.

Step 3

Ovarian stimulation: Approximately 10-12 days

You will administer daily injectable medications of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). The goal is to stimulate the growth and development of multiple follicles (i.e., eggs) to freeze. During this time, you will go to your clinic for monitoring, which includes blood tests and ultrasounds. Your doctor may adjust your medication dosage to ensure that follicles grow appropriately during this time.

Step 4

The trigger injection

At the end of the stimulation period, you will be instructed to take a trigger injection. While this can sound a little intimidating, it’s just another type of injection that helps the eggs mature and prepare the body for egg retrieval.

Step 5

Egg retrieval

Two days following the trigger injection, you will go to the clinic for your egg retrieval procedure. This intra-vaginal procedure takes place while you are under IV sedation, so you are asleep, and the procedure is completely pain-free. You may feel some minor cramps after the procedure, which can typically be treated with over-the-counter pain relief.

Step 6

Egg freezing

Once retrieved, embryologists evaluate the eggs to determine which ones are suitable for freezing. Eggs are frozen using a cooling process called vitrification and stored in liquid nitrogen for long-term storage. You will be contacted the following day with an update on how many eggs were able to be frozen.

Not every egg will result in a pregnancy when couples try to conceive on their own, and the same truth applies when you freeze your eggs. IVF does not guarantee a future pregnancy; however, it is a powerful tool to take control of your reproductive future.

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