Egg Freezing

Egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) is a new process which allows patients to store eggs for later use. Embryo and sperm freezing have been available for many years; however, egg freezing requires a new freezing technique called vitrification. This is a rapid freezing technique which greatly reduces the risk of injury to the egg.

In 2010, The Pacific In Vitro Fertilization Institute celebrated the birth of Hawaii's first baby using frozen eggs (see recent advances). This new technology allows women to store eggs for several medical indications.

The most common indications include:

  1. Maintaining fertility in women who wish to defer pregnancy. Since increasing age decreases the pregnancy rate in women, storing eggs at a younger age is helpful in maintaining fertility.
  2. Storing eggs prior to some types of radiation or chemotherapy which can injure the ovaries.
  3. Couples with religious concerns about embryo freezing and what to do with extra stored embryos. With egg freezing available, fewer eggs can be fertilized for use now and extra eggs can be frozen and stored for future use.