Oocyte freezing, also known as egg
freezing, is a medical technology that can preserve a woman's fertility and is
a medical knowledge that the new generation of women need to know. It was not
until 2012 that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine considered oocyte
freezing to be a mature technology and began promoting its use. It has recently
become a hot topic in Taiwan.
Medical and Elective Oocyte Freezing
oocyte freezing: for young women with cancer or at risk for premature
Young women with cancer often face a dilemma between cancer treatment
and fertility planning. Depending on the doctor's assessment, they may be able
to complete oocyte cryopreservation as early as two weeks before cancer
treatment, and then thaw the eggs for IVF once the disease has stabilized.
Young women may also encounter risk factors for premature ovarian
failure, such as ovarian cysts, previous surgery for ovarian cysts, familial
premature ovarian failure, abnormal menstruation, obesity, stress, and exposure
to environmental hormones. An ultrasound examination and a blood test for
anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) can be used to assess the ovarian reserve. Not
only can you find out if the ovaries are healthy, but also ask your fertility
doctor to help you assess whether to freeze your oocytes at this stage.
Elective oocyte freezing " for non-medical purposes
Companies such as Google in the United States have begun to subsidize
reproductive health benefits for their employees so that women of childbearing
age who are not yet mentally ready can freeze their eggs at a healthy age. They
try to balance the career achievements with their fertility plans. Many
YouTubers and female celebrities in Taiwan have also started to share their
experiences with oocyte freezing. Most of the motivations are related to
women's autonomy, career planning, late marriage in general, uncertainty about
whether or not to have children, not meeting their ideal partner, peers getting
married and having children, and pressure from family elders. In addition, if
lesbian couples or single women choose to freeze their oocytes in Taiwan, they
need to go abroad to match with donor sperm to fulfill their dreams of having
children. These requirements are worthy of attention.
Couples who have a consensus to have more than two children can
consider "fertility planning embryo
freezing" to store young embryos with a low rate of chromosomal
abnormalities. Only thawed embryo transfer will be required in the future. If
couples have difficulty conceiving or have infertility, they should seek early
medical consultation. However, it is important to note that complications of
pregnancy may increase depending on the age of embryo transfer. It is
recommended to complete the fertility plan as soon as possible.
Elective oocyte freezing, not too young or too old, the
number of frozen eggs should be sufficient.
most suitable age is between 30-34 years old. The younger you are, the more
"good eggs" you can get in a single cycle. The number and quality of
eggs decreases with age, resulting in higher rates of chromosomal abnormalities
and miscarriage in future fertilized embryos. The decline rate is faster after
the age of 35. Older women may require multiple oocyte freezing cycles and more
medical expenses to obtain the optimal pregnancy rate. Women younger than 30
years old who are healthy may not need to consider oocyte freezing because they
have a high chance to conceive naturally.
Considering the survival rate and the age at which the oocytes are
thawed, the Taiwan Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends that if 20
mature oocytes can be frozen, women younger than 35-year-old could have an
80-90% chance of a live birth, women aged 36-37 have a 70% chance, women aged 40-41
have a 40% chance, and those aged 44 have a 10% chance.
considering egg freezing, women should be fully aware of the rights and
regulations governing the use of their eggs. Under the current artificial
reproduction law in Taiwan, a legal couple must be in a relationship in order
to thaw oocytes for IVF. We hope the government will open up more options in
the future so that more women can benefit from Taiwan's excellent reproductive
The oocyte freezing procedure takes only 2-3 weeks to
evaluation: medical history, blood sampling and
ovarian hyperstimulation: Ovulation stimulating
drug are started since day 2-4 of menstruation, followed by 2-3 times ovarian
follicles and hormone examination
retrieval: When the follicles are mature enough, the
ovulation drug is administered. After 34-36 hours, the oocytes are retrieved
under anesthesia. The oocytes will be aspirated through the vagina by
ultrasound guidance and sent to the laboratory for evaluation of the oocyte
grading. The procedure is short and usually does not require hospitalization.
It is recommended to take a day off and rest at home on the day of the
procedure. A small number of women experience ovarian bleeding, infection or
ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome after oocyte retrieval.
freezing fee and annual cryopreservation fee
The cost includes ovulation medication, oocyte retrieval surgery,
anesthesia, oocyte freezing. The total cost varies depending on the type and
dosage of ovulation medication used and the number of eggs frozen per person. In
our center, the cost of oocyte freezing is around NT$100,000-$150,000 and the
annual preservation fee is NT$8,000. There is no limit to how long the oocytes
can be preserved, while embryos can be preserved for 10 years.
Whether you've heard of oocyte freezing or
not, you can learn about its indication and the regulations governing its use.
If you are motivated to freeze your oocytes, you can do the procedure earlier.
This may ease any anxiety about fertility. You don't have to worry too much if
you are not sure about the answer, you can seek the help of a fertility doctor
for examination and consultation anytime.
Reference: Seifer. Age-specific AMH
values for U.S. clinics. Fertil Steril 2011.
Ultrasound-guided transvaginal oocyte retrieval
Reference: Far Eastern Reproductive Center