About the Egg Freezing Process

An oocyte cryopreservation treatment cycles starts the same way as a regular in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment cycle and involves stimulating the woman's ovaries with fertility medications containing follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Normally, during the reproductive years, a woman's body releases one egg from the ovary in the middle of each menstrual cycle. By stimulating the ovaries with fertility medication, we are usually able to have multiple eggs reach maturation during a single treatment cycle.

FSH is self-administered as a daily injection for about one week, during which time monitoring of the ovarian response is necessary through frequent doctor visits to the center. The ovarian monitoring usually includes five to seven visits in the course of two weeks where blood tests and ultrasound examinations are carried out. During this time, the patient may experience some abdominal discomfort, weight gain and irritability.

Once the eggs are deemed "ready" by the doctors, a late-night shot is necessary, followed 1½ days later by the oocyte harvest procedure, commonly known as the "egg retrieval". The harvest is performed under mild sedation and takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The number of oocytes retrieved varies from woman to woman and may be anywhere from 0 to 45, depending on a woman's age and how the individual woman's body responds to the fertility medications. A short recovery room stay is necessary after the egg retrieval. It is necessary to have an escort take you home after the procedure because of the anesthesia.

After the eggs are removed from the body, they are brought to the clinical laboratory where they are initially evaluated for health and then frozen. All eggs retrieved and frozen at the NYU Fertility Center are stored and maintained onsite at the clinic.

Over the week following the egg retrieval, some additional abdominal bloating is experienced by most women. During the stimulation of the ovaries and the following week, we advise that you to refrain from high-impact exercise or long-distance travel. The discomfort usually peaks approximately one week after the procedure and then subsides completely over the following few days. This feeling is the result of the natural ovulation process; it is just more intense after treatment because multiple eggs have been extracted from the ovaries as opposed to the one usually released during natural ovulation.

Patient Orientation Sessions

Any patient undergoing an Egg Freezing (EF) cycle must attend an onsite orientation session conducted by our nursing staff before beginning treatment. If applicable, partners are encouraged to attend this session as well. To provide additional review of the information, the orientation presentation is now available for you to review online. Please note, this availability does not eliminate the need to attend an onsite session. View the presentation.