The causes of childlessness are innumerous as are modern options of treating them. A high-end technique of special long-time preservation of eggs, sperm or embryos at German fertility clinics has helped thousands of patients to keep their hope for motherhood and fatherhood alive even in case of severe infertility.
Being a routine technique at German fertility centers, egg freezing has contributed to better success rates in terms of IVF therapeutic aims (i.e. healthy pregnancies). Oocytes and embryos are very sensitive structures for freezing. When frozen eggs get thawed they are exposed to damage and proved to be unsuitable for fertilization. It also concerned the frozen fertilized eggs (embryos). German specialists have been struggling over decades to sophisticate the freezing of eggs and embryo and to improve the quality of frozen material (frozen eggs) as well as the safety of such treatment. It is because of this drive for perfection that the German microbiologists have achieved better rates in manipulating the frozen eggs and embryos than their European colleagues. The surviving rates of egg cells and embryos after “shock freezing” in Germany makes up more than 80%, which is almost three times as high as at the top fertility centers of the UK, the USA and Canada.
Judging from our empiric experience, women coming to Germany for infertility treatment cannot answer the following questions:
- how can eggs be frozen
- why to freeze an egg or an embryo
- how much does it cost to store frozen eggs abroad
This article is going to give only some basic information on cryopreservation of reproductive material (eggs) in Germany. To learn more or to ask questions, concerning the preservation frozen eggs, please call us and schedule the consultation with an experienced fertility specialist.
An interesting fact is that more and more big European companies are going to cover costs for frozen egg storage and thus to allow the talented and promising women to concentrate on their careers. The egg cryopreservation for social reasons (“social freezing”) was initiated by Facebook and Apple in the year 2014. These two companies have agreed to pay each woman employee the whole of $ 20 thousand in order to cover costs for cryopreservation.
The vitrificаtion of eggs, better known as "freezing of eggs", has been designed a decade ago in order to save the fragile reproductive material for future IVF procedures. Preservation of frozen eggs keeps hope for healthy pregnancy alive and is available for women of different age categories. Most frequently the cryopreservation (egg freezing) is performed in next cases:
- woman wants to postpone pregnancy, because of professional reasons
- woman needs preservation of fertility prior to certain treatments, which are supposed to affect fertility
- limited ovarian reserve (limited number of vital eggs) of a woman
- increased risk of early menopause in a woman
- autoimmune disease, or chromosomal syndromes in a woman or man
- surgery on fallopian tubes is needed.
The best chances for successful pregnancy after frozen embryo transfer (FET) or frozen egg fertilization have women under the age of 43. The major advantage of cryopreservation of biological material is that a woman can avoid the hormone stimulation of ovaries and egg retrieval every time she decides to try one more IVF or ICSI procedure.
The “shock freezing” procedure is carried out in the specially equipped lab. Before egg or embryo freezing procedure a patient will be offered to undergo following steps:
- Diagnosing the ovarian function
- Defining the hormone level
- Hormone stimulation
- Mоnitoring of cycle
When the clinical team has decided that your eggs are mature, they will schedule for you the procedure of egg retrieval for further egg freezing. The extraction of eggs lasts about 10 minutes and is performed after ultrasound guidance. The embryologist then searches for vital oocytes in the follicular media and selects the best ones, which have no deviations from the norm. To avoid the forming of ice crystals during the freezing process, the eggs get dehydrated and specially prepared. The selected eggs are properly prepared (washed) in a special tube and then moved to dishes with special culture fluid. The egg freezing process usually begins 60-80 minutes after the egg retrieval. The eggs are introduced in a special freezing straw, which is labeled with your name and ID number and then put into a cooling machine, where the temperature of -155 Grad Celsius is maintained. After the process of “shock freezing” (vitrification), the frozen eggs are located into a refrigerator and can be stored there over a long period of time.
The straw with frozen oocytes (eggs) or embryos will be stored in a special freezing container over 5 years. If you want to prolong the storage of oocytes/ eggs in Germany, you will have to inform the clinic in advance. The egg freezing costs at German clinics make up about €4 500 (incl. the hormone stimulation and egg retrieval). To store your reproductive cells (eggs or embryos) in Germany costs about €800- €1 000.
Successful approaches to egg freezing under strict quality guidelines at German fertility clinics resulted in 500 000 healthy pregnancies of women in reproductive age since 2001. The women who made a decision to store the oocytes (eggs) or embryos in Germany usually say that they feel “more in control of the situation”, since they are “running against the bio clock” and are “free to have as many IVF procedures as needed”. The German Medical Group wants even more women to benefit from egg freezing and sees it as the highest concern to inform female patients about the best options to increase fertility and achieve pregnancy
Our fertility team will provide you with the detailed information about storage of frozen eggs, clinical experience, pregnancy statistics and prices of infertility treatment. Please, feel free to call us!