On-Demand Fertility Seminar On-Demand Egg Freezing Seminar

Elective Egg Freezing

What you can expect

Egg freezing involves three steps — ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and freezing.

Ovarian stimulation

You are going to take some synthetic hormones to encourage your ovaries to produce many eggs — instead of one egg that is normally produced every month. Medications that you might need to take are:

  • Medications for stimulating the ovaries: You might have to inject yourself with medications like menotropins (Menopur) or follitropin alfa or beta (Follistim AQ, Gonal-f).
  • Medications for preventing premature ovulation. Your physician might prescribe a GnRH antagonist such as cetrorelix (Cetrotide) or a GnRH agonist like leuprolide acetate (Lupron). Note that GnRH is short for gonadotropin-releasing hormone.

During this treatment, your physician will check you regularly to make sure everything is okay. You will also need to undergo several blood tests to know how you are responding to ovarian-stimulation drugs. Typically, the levels of estrogen increase as egg follicles develop, but the levels of progesterone stays low until the eggs have been released from the ovaries (ovulation).

Follow-up visits will include vagina ultrasound—a clinical procedure that uses sound waves to produce a picture of the ovaries and other important female reproductive organs— to monitor how the follicles (fluid-filled sacs where eggs become mature) are developing.

When the follicles mature and are ready for egg retrieval (usually after 10-14 days), you will be given a trigger injection of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) such as Ovidrel or any other medication that can make eggs mature quickly.

Egg retrieval

Egg retrieval is carried out under mild sedation, typically in a clinic or your physician’s office. One of the most commonly used egg retrieval methods is transvaginal ultrasound aspiration. During this procedure, a small probe is inserted into the vagina to identify the egg follicles.

After this, a needle is guided into each follicle, and a suction device joined to the needle is then used to take out the eggs from the follicles one after the other. More than one egg can be removed from the ovaries, and research indicates that the more the number of eggs retrieved, the higher the chances of having a baby.

Note that you might have cramping after this procedure. Besides, you might experience constipation or get bloated for some time since your ovaries are still enlarged.


Following retrieval, the harvested eggs are then cooled to very low temperatures (around -196 degrees Celsius) to preserve them for later use. Compared to the makeup of a fertilized egg (embryo), the makeup of an unfertilized egg makes it harder to freeze.

Vitrification is the most commonly used method for freezing eggs. The process involves the use of large concentrations of substances (cryoprotectants) that help prevent the formation of ice crystals during the freezing procedure.

After the procedure

Typically, you will be able to go back to your normal activities within 7 days of egg retrieval. Stay away from unprotected sex during this period to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

Get in touch with your health service provider if you have:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • A fever higher than 38.6 C (101.5 F)
  • Weight gain of over 2 pounds in one day



When you are ready to use your frozen eggs, they will be thawed, fertilized with your partner or donor’s sperm, and transferred into your or a Surrogate mother’s womb.

Your health care team may advise that you go for a fertilization technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), during which a single viable sperm is injected into each mature egg directly.

Based on your age at the time of freezing the eggs, you have around 30 to 60 percent chance of getting pregnant after implantation. The younger you are at the time, the higher your chances of having a healthy live birth in the future.

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