What is the egg freezing process?
The egg freezing process takes about 4-6 weeks from start to finish and involves three main steps:
- Ovarian stimulation
- Egg retrieval
- Egg freezing
To use your eggs in the future, you’ll go through another two steps:
- Thaw and fertilization
- Embryo transfer
Below, you’ll learn what to expect prior to, on the day of, and after the egg freezing procedure.
Prior to Your Egg Freezing Procedure
Prior to your egg freezing procedure, you will visit our office to have a consultation with one of our fertility specialists. Your doctor will likely run a range of hormone tests to help determine how many eggs you might retrieve in one cycle and what protocol is needed to maximize the amount of eggs retrieved.
- Call our clinic when you begin your menses
- Schedule your transvaginal ultrasound to evaluate your ovarian follicle count
- Schedule your blood test on day 2 of your menstrual cycle
- Schedule a consult to review your results, order your medication, and make financial preparations
Once your protocol has been set by your fertility specialist, you will start nightly ovarian stimulation injections to help as many eggs develop and mature as possible for collection. This typically happens 2 weeks prior to your egg retrieval. During this period, we will be monitoring you closely through ultrasounds and bloodwork to determine when a good amount of healthy eggs have reached maturity. When your doctor thinks your follicles look mature and primed, they will likely order a “trigger shot” of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or or leuprolide acetate (Lupron) to tell your body that it’s time to release some eggs!
Egg Retrieval Scheduling
You will likely come into Boca Fertility the morning after your trigger shot. It is critical that retrieval occurs 36 hours after the injection, so that your body doesn’t ovulate on its own prior to retrieval. We will work closely with you to schedule your egg retrieval at the right time.
Day of Your Egg Freezing Procedure
While it may sound intimidating, the egg retrieval process is really quite simple. Once you are under light anesthesia, the process only takes about 20-30 minutes.
You will need to arrive 1-1.5 hours prior to your procedure and schedule a ride home. You will receive light anesthesia, so you will be unable to drive home. Once you’ve checked in, you’ll be taken to a private room where you will change into a gown and remove all jewelry, contacts, glasses, etc. in preparation for the procedure. Our nurses will walk you through the procedure, guide you through paperwork, and administer your IV for anesthesia.
Once the anesthesiologist administers your anesthesia, your fertility specialist will perform a transvaginal ultrasound to locate your ovaries and look at the follicles—the fluid-filled sacs containing your eggs. At the same time, your doctor will insert a needle into the vagina to retrieve your eggs. The aspiration is quick and retrieval takes only 5-10 minutes, pain free!
Your eggs will then be passed off to our embryologists for analysis and freezing.
Upon completion of the procedure, our embryologists will be able to tell you how many eggs were retrieved. They will then be taken to a long-term storage facility for freezing until you are ready to use them. If you are planning on doing multiple egg retrievals, you will meet with your fertility coach to schedule the next one.
After Your Egg Freezing Procedure
- After your procedure, you will be in recovery for about 30 minutes while you rest and let the anesthesia wear off.
- Once your fertility specialist gives you the okay, you are clear to leave with the person you selected to drive you home.
- We recommend treating yourself to a leisure day the day of your treatment!
- You can expect light cramping for a few days, but most patients are back to normal activities by the next day.
If you experience any of the below symptoms after your egg freezing procedure, please contact your doctor immediately:
- Dizziness or fainting
- Painful urination
- Severe abdominal pain (outside of light cramps) or swelling
- High fever (above 100.3°F)
- Heavy vaginal bleeding (spotting and light bleeding is normal)
What happens when I want to use my eggs?
After egg retrieval, the eggs are frozen and stored until you’re ready to use them. When you’re prepared for pregnancy, the eggs will be thawed, fertilized with sperm (through IVF), and the resulting embryos will be transferred to your uterus during a cycle tailored to your body’s natural or medicated cycle.