|Freezing and storage|
|Prices include collection. Does not include drugs.|
|Consultation||£175 - £230|
|EGGsafe - multicycle||£5,615 –£5,975|
|Egg preservation - one cycle||£2,940–£3,195|
|Sperm freezing||£110 - £155|
|Monthly storage charge||£22.50|
Egg freezing and egg storage is a process in which a woman's eggs are collected, frozen and stored to help preserve her fertility. The technique for freezing & storing eggs has advanced greatly over recent years with significantly improved success rates of eggs surviving the freeze/thaw process, fertilising and resulting in a baby.
It is well known that age negatively affects a woman’s fertility. Fertility begins to decline as a woman approaches 30, and decreases very rapidly after age 35. Every woman is born with a limited supply of eggs (ovarian reserve) and, over time, the quantity and quality of her eggs are constantly decreasing, making it more difficult to achieve a healthy pregnancy. Freezing eggs offers women a way to preserve their fertility so they retain the potential to have healthy babies when the time is right for them.
Hundreds of babies have been born worldwide using frozen and thawed mature eggs, and we're one of the first clinics in the UK to have introduced a super-cooling technique for egg freezing called vitrification, which substantially improves egg survival rates. Over 85% of eggs undergoing this vitrification technique survive the freeze-thaw process.
Vitrification is an advanced ‘flash-freezing’ method of preserving eggs, sperm and embryos. Vitrification involves carefully placing your eggs on the tip of a special straw before plunging the straw into liquid nitrogen, which is kept at -196⁰C. This freezes the eggs instantaneously, preventing the cell damage that can sometimes occur with ‘slow freezing’ methods of egg preservation.
The frozen eggs are then stored in the liquid nitrogen, and the extremely low temperature ensures that there is no biological activity within the egg, allowing them to be preserved for many years without deteriorating in quality.
There are lots of reasons why you might want to preserve your fertility. Most commonly, you’ll be thinking of freezing your eggs because:
Ultimately, egg freezing is a good option if you think you might want to start or grow your family in the future and would like to preserve your fertility, just in case. If you’re unsure whether freezing your eggs is for you, we’d be happy to help; talk to your local CARE Fertility clinic.
The first step in your egg freezing journey is to schedule an initial consultation. During the consultation, your doctor will give you individualised information based on your medical history, an assessment of your ovarian reserve and your family-building goals, that will help you decide whether freezing eggs is right for you.
Ovarian stimulation is carried out in the same way as IVF. Fertility drugs are used to stimulate your ovaries, this maximises the number of eggs you will produce in your cycle for us to collect and store for you.
During the stimulation phase of your treatment, we monitor your progress closely to establish exactly when is the best time for your eggs to be collected. The monitoring phase will last several days, the exact number of days will vary for each person and will depend on how many follicles containing eggs are available and how fast they grow. A typical monitoring phase is 3-7 days.
This is a straightforward procedure, taking less than 30 minutes, which is performed with sedation or local anaesthetic and pain relief. To collect the eggs, we pass a scan probe into the vagina and use ultrasound to guide a needle into one of the ovaries. We then aspirate eggs from the available ovarian follicles. It’s normal to feel a few twinges during collection, but it isn’t painful. After collection, we recommend you have a short rest before going home.
We then carefully prepare your eggs for freezing by placing them into a special preservation medium. Those suitable will be frozen for possible future use.
We will explain each stage of the process carefully and will let you know how many eggs are being frozen when we’re done.
You have the option of either a single egg freezing cycle or our EGGsafe package. With this package we aim to store and keep 20 eggs for you. These can be collected over up to four egg collection procedures which can be spread out over several months.
Over 85% of eggs undergoing the vitrification technique survive the freeze-thaw process, and many of these can be used in treatment. Results, as with IVF, depend on a number of individual factors including the quality of the frozen eggs. That's partly why we recommend freezing 20 eggs. This number has been calculated based on our experience and worldwide data. We consider that this will give a high and realistic chance of having a baby in the future, when you are ready.
“After having my eggs frozen, I have that plan B”
The standard storage period for eggs is 10 years, but there may be circumstances in which your eggs can be stored for longer (e.g.for those women at risk of becoming prematurely infertile due to medical reasons).
If you decide that you want to use your frozen eggs to have a baby, a treatment plan in devised for you. Your eggs are thawed in the embryology lab, using special warming solutions. They are then fertilised with sperm (either your partner’s or donor sperm) to create embryos.
At the appropriate time, your embryos will be transferred to your uterus in a straightforward non-surgical procedure. Your doctor will use ultrasound guidance to insert a soft catheter through the cervix and into the uterus. The embryo or embryos pass through the catheter and into your uterus, where hopefully, one will implant.
After a period of approximately 2 weeks you will take a pregnancy test.