Frozen eggs are best

The vitrification of human oocytes may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but fear not, it has quite a simple meaning. It is the rapid freezing of eggs for later use.

‘This procedure is brand new in South Africa,’ explains Parent24 fertility expert Doctor Wiswedel of the Cape Fertility Clinic, one of the few clinics to offer this procedure. Here he shares the who, what and why of vitrification.

What is vitrification?

Vitrification is the rapid freezing of eggs. This new way of freezing eggs is not for embryos though. Embryos are eggs that have already been fertilized and are on their way to being a foetus.

Why freeze eggs?

A process like vitrification is perfect for if you’re working woman and you’re not entirely keen on having a family just yet. It would probably be considered by women who expect to have fertility issues later on, to make sure there will be viable eggs available.

Why bother freezing your eggs at all then you may ask? The ideal age for a woman to fall pregnant is at the latest 32. Thereafter, with each year that you get older, your chance of falling pregnant drops. So, if you’re a 24-year-old and decide that you only want to have kiddies at 35, then why not vitrify your eggs now and have a better chance at falling pregnant later?

The old method of freezing, which took longer and only worked on embryos, had a 10% chance of success. The new method however has a huge success rate of 80%! So couples may decide to store eggs for second or subsequent pregnancies.

Will it hurt?

IVF is used before freezing can take place, by maturing and preparing your eggs. The eggs get harvested without any cutting and apparently with only the slightest bit of discomfort. If you are one of the lucky ones who have too many mature eggs, refreezing is also entirely possible.

The process of vitrification itself is not too costly but the process of getting the eggs (via IVF) can be. The vitrification process costs approximately R2500. IVF however can cost anything around R20 000. Yikes!

If you’d like to know more, contact the Cape Fertility Clinic.

Would you consider freezing eggs for later use?

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