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  • Francesca Bianchi

All about Social Freezing: how oocyte cryopreservation works

We now live in an era that presents us with great challenges: our increasingly intense and too often frenetic pace of life leads us, almost inevitably, to postpone the moment of becoming parents, encountering possible fertility problems.

Advancing age combined with a sedentary lifestyle and sometimes incorrect eating habits are factors that can affect the quality of all women's eggs.

Fertility preservation, also called oocyte cryopreservation or social freezing, is a fairly effective alternative to postponing motherhood until the most appropriate time.

What is social freezing?

Social freezing is a medically assisted procreation technique that consists of vitrifying/freezing eggs when they are still young, so that they can be used at a later time. Thanks to this technique it is possible to avoid the effects of the passage of time because when the eggs are thawed, the "age" they had at the time of vitrification will remain intact and, consequently, also their quality, which will give greater possibility of pregnancy.

Egg cryopreservation: how does it happen?

During cryopreservation (social freezing), the eggs are treated with cryoprotective substances and then immersed in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196º C. The frozen eggs have no expiry date, meaning they can remain in this state without time limits while keeping the their property, obviously always under certain conditions.

How social freezing works: all stages of the process

Ovarian stimulation: Treatment of social freezing begins with ovarian stimulation. The patient is administered drugs useful for enhancing the development of the follicles (the place where future eggs mature). Normally, a woman matures only one egg during each menstrual cycle, whereas in this way it will be possible to obtain a quantity of mature eggs in a single cycle. The treatment is administered subcutaneously, with "self-injection" devices.

Control of follicular development: During the ovarian stimulation treatment, checks will be carried out periodically, using vaginal ultrasounds and, if necessary, also hormonal analyses; all to verify follicular maturation and plan the right time for sampling. This phase lasts between 10 and 12 days.

Oocyte retrieval (Pick-up): The oocyte retrieval is carried out in the operating room using a thin needle. The operation takes place through transvaginal ultrasound to proceed with the aspiration of the follicles. The process lasts no more than 15/20 minutes and is carried out under sedation for greater comfort and well-being of the patient. Egg retrieval does not require hospitalization, only a few hours' rest is prescribed in the clinic room. Once this time has passed, you can resume your routine.

Cryopreservation of oocytes: The eggs obtained are cryopreserved using the vitrification technique. Preservation is carried out in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of -196 degrees centigrade, until the eggs are devitrified and used in the future using the IVF/ICSI technique.

Do you have further questions?

If you have further questions regarding social freezing, you can write to us at , we will be happy to answer you!



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