During every cycle, eggs grow in fluid filled sacs (called follicles) on the ovaries. Only 1 egg will mature and be released (through ovulation), the rest will die. The egg freezing process, as with an IVF cycle, helps all the eggs to mature.
Stimulation of your ovaries
To do this, you’ll undertake a series of hormone medications to help stimulate your ovaries for around 10-12 days. Your fertility specialist will discuss the best medications and stimulation techniques for you.
Generally, stimulation is by giving yourself hormone injections using a tiny needle under the skin. Don’t worry, it’s not scary, and your fertility nurse will help you through the process. During the stimulation period, you’ll be monitored via blood tests and ultrasounds.
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The eggs stimulated to grow would have grown or died during your natural cycle
that month. The stimulation mimics your body’s natural processes. It doesn’t affect future egg supply or lead to premature menopause.
When your eggs are ready to be collected, you’ll visit the hospital for a short procedure. You’ll be asleep, so you won’t feel a thing. The procedure itself takes around 10-15 minutes and you can usually go home in 1-2 hours.
Your fertility specialist will extract the fluid from the follicles on your ovaries, which contains your eggs. The eggs are extracted vaginally by your fertility specialist, so there’s no cuts or scars.
As with any procedure under anaesthetic, you might feel tired or groggy. Bring a support person as you won’t be able to drive.
Once your eggs have been collected, your fertility specialist passes them directly to our scientists. These skilled scientists identify the mature eggs to be frozen; only mature eggs are frozen as immature eggs don’t create a viable pregnancy. The scientists remove the eggs from the fluid and delicately remove their outer shell.
The eggs are then frozen in the lab using a method called vitrification, or snap freezing. The fluid is removed from the eggs to prevent damage when they are frozen.
Scientifically, there’s no time limit on how long eggs can stay frozen.