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There has never been a better time to freeze your eggs … and it’s all thanks to a process called vitrification.
Vitrification is a fast freeze method, which entails the removal of water from the egg (otherwise known as an oocyte). This technology is relatively new in the context of egg freezing; however, according to Dr. Hal Danzer , a reproductive endocrinologist at Southern California Reproductive Center in Beverly Hills, CA, almost all facilities are now using vitrification to freeze eggs as it is currently the most successful technology available.
"The process of freezing human eggs has changed dramatically in the past 2 to 3 years,” Danzer explains, noting that, "a slow-freeze process, which would often result in damage to the egg, had previously served as the main preservation method."
“The process of freezing has always been difficult. To freeze any cell, we must remove the water," he adds. “And eggs are approximately 70% to 80% water.” During a slow-freeze a majority of that water can create ice crystals, which can damage the egg, especially upon thawing. With the use of a cryoprotectant, which removes the water very quickly during a fast-freeze, ice crystals do not have time to form; and the resulting statistics speak volumes.
"The new vitrification, which freezes eggs within a matter of minutes, allows approximately 80% to 90% of the eggs to thaw and to be viable," Danzer says. "These eggs can be fertilized by injecting a single sperm when they are thawed. Fertilization rates are in the 75% to 80% range. We now believe freezing eggs and thawing them will result in pregnancies similar to pregnancy rates seen with fresh embryos for women undergoing IVF."
There are other important factors that can affect success rates though, such as age.
"The genetic balance of eggs is so important and why egg freezing should be done within the time frame of the early to mid 30s ,” Danzer explains. “ We know that at age 35 approximately 2 in 3 eggs are genetically balanced; by age 40, it is 1 in 4. So while we can freeze and thaw eggs very efficiently today, the genetic balance of the egg is so important in determining the anticipated pregnancy rates from these eggs."
If egg freezing is something that you're thinking about … now is the time to act. You can research for a clinic that is very experienced in egg freezing technology.