More and more women of childbearing age who are facing chemotherapy or radiation treatments after a cancer diagnosis are seeking to freeze their eggs through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) process. Chemo and radiation can destroy the quality of a woman’s eggs because of the damaging effects of cancer treatment on maturing follicles in the ovaries.
Coordination of Cancer Treatment and Egg Freezing
Dr. Laurence A. Jacobs will work directly with your Doctor of Oncology to coordinate egg freezing prior to the start of cancer treatment. Chemo and radiation treatments are used to destroy rapidly dividing cancer cells, but also harm egg follicles stored in the ovaries. There are also many cases in which women have entered into premature menopause post-cancer treatment and have been unable to produce eggs on their own.
By preserving their eggs through oocyte cryopreservation, women facing cancer can preserve their fertility for the future. Pregnancy success rates using a woman’s egg that has been cryopreserved are comparable to success using a fresh egg.
Egg Freezing Process
The egg freezing process begins with the woman undergoing ovarian reserve testing.
- Assessment of AMH levels in the blood (Anti-Mullerian hormone)
- Clomid Challenge Test – Assessment of FSH levels in the blood
- Ovarian Volume Assessment – Assessment of the size of the ovaries
- Antral Follicle Count – Counting follicles seen via ultrasound to predict ovarian reserve
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Egg freezing is accomplished through a fresh IVF cycle, stopping short of egg fertilization in vitro.
- Stimulation of a woman’s ovaries using fertility drugs to produce several egg follicles during one IVF cycle
- Harvesting of eggs from the woman’s ovaries through surgical retrieval
- Preparation and freezing of the eggs for preservation through a process known as vitrification
- The rapid-freezing technique of vitrification makes it possible to freeze eggs quickly so that ice crystals do not form between cells
- Freezing tanks and storage for the eggs are on premises at Global Fertility & Genetics
When the woman is ready to start building her family, the egg freezing process continues.
- Her eggs are thawed and fertilized in vitro by injecting a single sperm cell into a single egg – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
- The resulting embryos are cultured in vitro for up to 5 days (blastocyst stage)
- A predetermined number of quality embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus for implantation into the uterine lining to achieve pregnancy
- Progesterone is prescribed daily via suppository to help prepare the woman’s uterine lining for implantation of the fertilized egg – the embryo
- A pregnancy test is scheduled on a date prescribed by the doctor through a blood draw
Egg Cryopreservation Specialist
If you are facing chemo or radiation treatment for cancer, consider freezing your healthy eggs now to preserve your fertility. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Laurence Jacobs by clicking the icon below to schedule your appointment online – or – call 888.325.7389.