Egg Storage (Egg Freezing)
A woman may wish to consider egg freezing and storage of her eggs under two circumstances.
Firstly if you are in your childbearing years and are scheduled to have medical treatment which may prove detrimental to your future fertility such as cancer treatment. You would then need to liaise with your cancer / medical specialist about the benefits and risks of having fertility treatment before you decide to embark on the procedure of freezing your eggs.
Secondly if you, under reasonable circumstances, cannot procreate a child using your own eggs at the present time as it is in the case of a single woman. You may then consider the option of egg freezing provided you are deemed suitable for the treatment. This would depend on your age, your hormone levels besides other factors.
The chances of the eggs surviving after they are frozen and then fertilising them after they have thawed are low at the present time and only a few pregnancies have been reported globally, which have been created after eggs are frozen and then successfully thawed for use.
Provisions for this service are currently coordinated with another centre although it will, over the next few months, be located within the treating centre.
The procedure of retrieving eggs to then freeze them is not as simple and straight forward as semen production since the woman has to undergo the initial phase of the traditional IVF treatment using medications in order to make supernumerary eggs and then retrieving the eggs.
Alternatively, the procedure can also be performed through a key hole surgery by stripping out a part of the ovary and then freezing the ovarian piece. Currently there are no available methods to grow the eggs from ovarian tissue and this process is still being researched on. The procedure of ovarian tissue freezing is not offered at the centre at the present time.
You and your partner may use your eggs at any time, either here or at any other licensed clinic. The children resulting from such use will be your legal children. There is a separate information sheet available for you relating to the legal situation should a child be conceived from the posthumous use of your eggs (that is after you have died). You will be asked to sign a Consent form which defines your wishes relating to the use of your eggs after your death and the subsequent birth registration of the child.
You are free at any time to withdraw or vary your consent to store or use your eggs unless, of course, the eggs have already been used in treatment. Counselling is available should you require it. This will further outline the implications of the proposed course of action for you, your family and any children.
The maximum period that the law allows for storage of the eggs is ten years. If the eggs are used to create embryos, then these may be kept frozen for 10 years from that time. You may store your eggs for less than the maximum period if you wish.
You should be aware that there is an annual storage fee which you will need to pay every year for your eggs to remain in storage. You may make the decision about storage separately from the decision about your consent to the use of the eggs and you must make a decision as to what is to be done with the eggs if you die, or become incapable of varying or revoking your consent. It should be understood that all discussions, information during counselling, etc, will remain entirely confidential.