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Egg (oocyte) cryopreservation refers to the process of cooling a woman’s eggs to freezing temperatures in order to preserve their current biological state. These eggs can be thawed at a later date for reproductive purposes. In vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates using thawed versus fresh eggs are comparable and decrease with age.
When to Consider Egg Cryopreservation
There are multiple reasons to consider egg cryopreservation. There are multiple reasons to consider egg cryopreservation. Women who are not ready to become pregnant but who want to have a family later in life may choose to freeze eggs for social reasons. It is also useful for women with certain genetic conditions known to reduce the ovaries’ ability to produce eggs. Cryopreservation may also be used to save eggs after they have been retrieved for IVF if sperm are unable to be obtained the same day. Couples may also choose to preserve eggs as an alternative to embryo cryopreservation during an IVF cycle.
Risks and Side Effects
The risks associated with egg cryopreservation involve those related to the process of obtaining eggs. Medications used to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs may cause headaches, mood swings, abdominal pain and bloating. Risks associated with the egg retrieval procedure include anesthesia-related risks, bleeding, infection and injury to organs in close proximity to the ovaries.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - Egg Cryopreservation
- Mature Oocyte Cryopreservation: A Guideline
Diagnosis and Treatment Available at Texas Children’s:
References & Sources
Mature oocyte cryopreservation: a guideline (2013) Practice Committees of American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. Fertil Steril 99:37–43.
Oocyte cryopreservation. Committee Opinion No. 584 (2014) American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 23:221–2.
Other Contributors: Brittany L. Coughlin, M.A.
Date Reviewed: 7/7/2016