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The maternal instinct of women does not always manifest itself at the right time. And it is that at the age of 20 the idea of being a mother may scare you and you even reject it at its roots, but when you are well into your thirties it begins to wake up. Your body will not be the one it used to be and you may have problems getting pregnant. Have you heard of egg vitrification? This is all you need to know!
The pace of life in today's society continues to be a determining factor in making many decisions for the future. What was previously a priority and essential for many parents and grandparents in adulthood does not seem to receive the same importance now as it was then. Although this stance of not linking each moment to a specific age of life, without marking crosses on the calendar and letting the facts arrive by themselves, may also influence. However, there are still events and stages of life that, due to natural circumstances, do require certain conditions to carry them out.
Motherhood is one of them and for this conception to be carried out without any problems it is important to have good fertile health and, therefore, good oocyte quality. However, there still seems to be a certain lack of knowledge around this issue, in which many people are unable to define and establish the period of time in which a woman's fertility begins to decline. The truth is that, to the surprise of many, the age of 20 is the period in which a woman is considered to be most likely to become pregnant in a spontaneous cycle.
However, from that moment on, fertility gradually declines, experiencing a considerable decline after the age of 35. In this sense, it is understood that delaying the pregnancy process for both socio-economic and work and personal reasons also poses a risk to women since it is possible that in the long term you will find certain obstacles and impediments that break your desire to be a mother. In this way, having processes such as vitrification can shed a cloak of hope on those people who still have time to preserve their fertility.
This is how this treatment is called, a technique that allows to preserve the eggs by freezing so that they can be fertilized in the future with guarantees of success. In addition, it allows the oocytes to be preserved with the same quality as at the age of freezing, keeping their characteristics intact regardless of the time that passes.
The fact is that the ovarian reserve can be affected both by the natural aging process and by different diseases and treatments that are harmful to fertility (endometriosis, cancer treatments, etc.), making it difficult for an evolutionary pregnancy in the future.
The ideal is to undergo this treatment before the age of 35, bearing in mind that from that age on, chromosomal abnormalities increase year after year. Having a good ovarian reserve and optimal ovacitary quality is essential. Although everything also depends on the personal circumstances that each one faces, since in many cases it is certain treatments or premature aging of the eggs that make this decision go ahead.
However, in general, the best results usually come from patients who have undergone the process at an early age. In addition, it is important to note that vitrifying eggs does not reduce future fertility nor does it prevent pregnancy from being achieved naturally. So anticipating the future and being cautious is also a good excuse to decide to take this important step.
With a total number of 25-30 mature eggs, the chances of pregnancy can be very high, especially if vitrification is carried out before the age of 35. For this, it is necessary to undergo several vitrification cycles, specifically between 2 or 3 cycles, since the average number of mature eggs obtained in an egg vitrification cycle is between 8-10 eggs.
There is no time determination that indicates the deterioration of the eggs once frozen, but once they are vitrified, they keep their characteristics intact regardless of the time that elapses. When it comes to freezing, it is carried out so quickly that the formation of ice crystals is avoided. Subsequently, they are transferred to security containers with liquid nitrogen at -196ºC that allows them to be preserved without losing their properties.
Egg freezing is a simple process that consists of three different steps:
- Ovarian stimulation
It is a procedure fully compatible with social and work life in which, as its name suggests, the ovary is stimulated, so that multiple follicles develop with a hormonal treatment administered subcutaneously for, at least, 10 days duration. During this period of time, ultrasound checks are carried out to check the multifollicular growth of the ovary during these days.
- Follicular puncture
In this phase, the oocytes that have matured in the ovaries are extracted in an ultrasound-guided manner vaginally under sedation. This extraction is carried out in a time between 5-10 minutes. Afterwards, they are transferred to the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) laboratory, where the vitrification process begins. Recovery of the patient, after this process, occurs quickly. Normally, an hour after the intervention, the patient is discharged and must remain in relative physical rest for 24 hours.
- Vitrification of ovules
Once in the laboratories, these mature oocytes are cryopreserved by means of cell solidification at low temperatures and in an ultra-fast way, preventing ice formations and damage to the cell. Afterwards, they remain stored in nitrogen tanks until their use.
When it is time to use these mature vitrified eggs, they are fertilized by IVF or microinjection with the partner's or donor's semen. In this way, embryos are generated that, later, will be transferred to the patient by embryo implantation.
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