How Does Egg Freezing Work?


What is Egg Freezing, and How Does it Work?

Egg freezing is a useful method of preserving female fertility and saving healthy eggs for future use.

Egg freezing is a popular method for women seeking to preserve their fertility and presents a way to expand their options later in life.

At the Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health, we understand that women freeze their eggs for various reasons. Whether you are single, wish to prioritise your career, are about to undergo medical treatment that may result in infertility, or you’re just not ready to start a family yet, our professionals offer an individual approach to fertility treatment, free of judgement, and are dedicated to achieving success for clients.


 What is egg freezing?

Egg freezing is the process used to save healthy eggs to use in the future. It is a useful method to preserve fertility, especially for those at risk of illness, those seeking to undergo gender transition treatments or hormone therapy, or those who aren’t yet ready to start a family but are concerned about declining fertility.


How does egg freezing work?

During the egg freezing process, eggs are removed from the ovaries and frozen “in time” so their quality is preserved until you wish to use them.


Why should I freeze my eggs?

There are several reasons why you may wish to freeze your eggs. However, some of the most pronounced benefits of choosing to undergo an egg freezing procedure include:

  1. To preserve your fertility

You may wish to delay starting a family due to lifestyle factors, sometimes known as social egg freezing, whether related to your career, relationship, financial status, or another reason.

  1. To give yourself more control

If you’re not ready to conceive, opting to freeze your eggs gives you more control over your reproductive health, so you can choose to start a family at any point in the future.

  1. To combat declining fertility

Women are born with a finite number of eggs, and the number and quality of eggs is in constant decline. This is known as your “ovarian reserve”. The decline in fertility comes with age, usually beginning in your thirties when the chance of getting pregnant during a single menstrual cycle is around 20%. The likelihood of getting pregnant drops to around 5% by 40 years of age.

As there is a constant decline in the number of eggs, you can be reassured that egg freezing does not accelerate the time you reach the menopause. It is also important to understand egg freezing does not guarantee a live birth, but – as with most fertility treatments – your age and the number of eggs collected are the main factors associated with a higher chance of success.

  1. To increase the chances of a successful pregnancy later in life

Freezing your eggs can improve your chances of pregnancy later in life and significantly reduce your risk of miscarriage. This is because the quality of eggs remains the same as the age you stored them and not the age you are going to thaw them. For example, if you embark on egg freezing at the age of 33 and subsequently wish to use your eggs at the age of 39, your eggs will remain the same quality. Therefore, egg freezing can be useful if you are experiencing the menopause early.

  1. To overcome illness or medical procedures

If you’re undergoing medical treatment such as chemotherapy that may impact your fertility, then freezing your eggs may be a good option for you. In addition, if you’re receiving hormone therapy or plan to transition, you can preserve your eggs for future use for yourself or with a partner.


Are there any risks to egg freezing?

As with any fertility procedure, there are risks associated. However, the process of egg freezing and egg collection is generally considered very safe. Some of the risks may include:

  • Side effects of medication or injections, including swelling or nausea.
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) as a reaction to medication stimulation.
  • Pelvic infections
  • Emotional, physical and financial risks associated with IVF

There is no evidence to suggest that using a thawed egg in pregnancy contributes to harm or abnormalities in children because of the kind of egg used in conception. However, women can be subject to the same risks as in IVF treatments.

Before you begin your procedure, your consultant will discuss the risks and how to avoid them during your consultation. You will be informed and in control every step of the way, and we will happily answer any questions or concerns at any stage of the egg freezing process.


The egg freezing process explained

  1. Pre-test screening and tests to determine your suitability

Before we begin the egg collection process, we will check your ovarian reserve. This involves an internal scan and a blood test to help us decide on the starting dose of stimulation and how you will respond. The treatment entails taking injections under the skin for 9-11 days.

  1. Monitoring your progress

You will have a scan and blood test every other day. Once the follicles (small fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries which contain an egg) reach a certain size, you will be instructed to have an injection to mature the eggs.

  1. Egg collection

We will conduct the egg collection procedure under light sedation (not general anaesthetic). It will take approximately 15-20 minutes. On the day of the procedure, we will tell you how many eggs we have collected. You will be able to go home the same day.

  1. Egg freezing and storage

Soon after collection, your eggs will be frozen in liquid nitrogen and placed in one of our secure facilities. You can store your eggs for 55 years, the current statutory storage limit, until you want to use them.


Egg Freezing FAQs

What is the statutory period for keeping frozen eggs?

The statutory storage limit in the UK for keeping frozen eggs is 55 years. The statutory storage limit for donated eggs, sperm and embryos is ten years.

How much does egg freezing cost?

The cost of egg freezing varies from person to person, particularly regarding medication. Find more detailed information on our pricing.

How successful is egg freezing?

In 2022, the live birth rate per thaw cycle + ET for CRGH patients was:

  • 7% for patients aged <35,
  • 1% for patients aged 35-37,
  • 0% for patients aged 38-39 and
  • 1% for patients aged 40-42.

Our recent survey of women embarking on their egg freezing journey showed that 91% had no regrets over their decision to undergo egg freezing. See all our success rates.


To summarise

  • Egg freezing is suitable for preserving female fertility and saving healthy eggs for future use.
  • Egg freezing is suitable for women who are not ready to start a family yet, for whatever reason.
  • Aside from fertility preservation, the primary benefits of egg freezing include having more control over your reproductive health, increasing the chance of pregnancy in later life, and overcoming illness or medical procedures that can lead to infertility.
  • The risks of egg freezing are small but include Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), pelvic infections, side effects of medication, and the emotional and financial implications of IVF.


Egg Freezing with CRGH Fertility

With over 30 years of experience, CRGH is committed to helping patients make their dreams a reality regardless of their circumstances. Our experts offer 60-minute initial consultations and will seek to understand and support your situation without judgement. In addition to our medical experts, we have a team of counsellors ready to answer any questions about the egg freezing procedure, the egg collection process, or any other concerns related to fertility treatment. We are here for you.

Please book an initial consultation with a consultant of your choice to discuss your egg freezing goals. If you’d like to visit us in person, find your nearest CRGH fertility clinic on our website. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Learn more about Egg Freezing