The egg is the largest cell in the body and is comprised mostly of water. The classic problem with freezing eggs has been that as the temperature drops below freezing point, ice crystals form inside the egg and cause damage to the genetic material.
Vitrification is an ultra-rapid cooling technique that allows the water inside and surrounding the egg to instantaneously super cool into a solid state with no ice crystal formation at all.
Only 50-60% of eggs preserved by slow freezing survive the thawing process, compared with almost 100% of eggs which are vitrified. In addition, the pregnancy rate per thawed egg preserved by slow freezing remains poor, appearing to be much lower in comparison with vitrification.
Studies have shown that vitrification results in higher post-warming survival, fertilisation, embryo development and pregnancy rates.
There are many situations when it may be suitable to store eggs, these may include:
Egg vitrification is available at Hollywood Fertility Centre for patients with medical requirements (for example prior to chemotherapy or in the case of Turner’s Syndrome) and in cases of emergency (for example when no sperm is available on the day of egg collection). Hollywood Fertility Centre also offers egg vitrification for social reasons.
In order to collect eggs for vitrification, patients will undergo a cycle of ovarian stimulation and a surgical egg collection procedure similar to that used during in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment.
If a patient requires egg vitrification for medical reasons such as undergoing chemotherapy or other cytotoxic therapy that will damage her eggs, she may be eligible to apply for a Medicare rebate for egg freezing.
For patients whose reasons for vitrifying eggs are non-medical, Medicare rebates are not available.back to top