Egg Freezing at London’s Leading IVF and Fertility Clinic
At IVF Matters, we understand that it can be challenging to navigate issues surrounding your fertility.
If you are concerned about preserving your future fertility, egg freezing is a safe and effective method of safeguarding your ability to have a baby at the right time for you.
We offer free 15-minute consultations to anyone considering egg-freezing treatment with us. It’s the perfect opportunity to ask any questions and gain confidence in making the right decision regarding your egg-freezing journey.
What is egg freezing?
Egg freezing is also called oocyte cryopreservation, and it’s a method of fertility preservation. If you are not ready to have a baby just yet, but you want to safeguard your ability to have one in the future, egg freezing might be the right choice for you.
Egg freezing is a process by which your eggs are harvested from your ovaries and then frozen in a process called vitrification. When you are ready to have a baby, the eggs are defrosted by a process called egg thawing. The egg is then fertilised in the laboratory, and then the embryo is transferred to your uterus via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
The first birth from frozen eggs was documented in 1999. This was followed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the UK’s fertility regulator, permitting egg-freezing treatment in the UK in 2000. According to HFEA data, the use of egg freezing is rising, and most egg-freezing treatments are done in London.
Preserving your future fertility – why women freeze their eggs
There are many reasons why a woman might choose to freeze her eggs.
For lots of women, there are compelling reasons to delay having a child. Some women might not have found the right partner yet, whilst others might be focusing on their careers. For any woman who knows she isn’t ready to have a baby yet but doesn’t want to worry about her age affecting her ability to have a child when she is ready, egg freezing is a way to preserve future fertility.
There are also medical reasons to consider egg freezing. Some medical conditions can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant. Radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatments can both affect fertility, whereas other conditions such as endometriosis, sickle cell anaemia and lupus can also have a negative impact on overall fertility.
Egg freezing might also be the right choice for you to preserve your fertility if you:
• Would prefer egg instead of embryo freezing for ethical or religious reasons
• Are transgender and want to preserve your fertility before undergoing hormone treatment or reconstructive surgery
• Wish to preserve younger eggs to boost your chances of a successful pregnancy later
The egg freezing process – step by step
There are three main steps in egg freezing:
Workup – This includes an initial consultation, fertility fitness tests and a follow-up consultation to discuss your treatment plan.
Preparation – During this step, you will complete all relevant consent forms, attend a consultation with a nurse and purchase your medication.
Treatment – Following your ovarian stimulation medication, you will undergo egg collection before your eggs are frozen and stored.
Your egg-freezing journey starts with an hour-long initial consultation with your specialist to determine your medical history and suitability for the egg-freezing treatment. You may be referred to a specialist if you are overweight or have any medical problems.
Following your consultation, you will undergo various fertility fitness tests. This includes an ovarian reserve test which checks your ovarian function. This test assesses the ovarian response and determines the drug regimen and dosage that would be most suitable to get a reasonable number of eggs.
You will also undergo checks for infectious diseases (such as HIV and hepatitis) and a check of your general health in preparation for the egg collection procedure and egg storage.
During your follow-up appointment with your consultant, you will have the opportunity to discuss the outcome of your tests, ask any further questions and firm up your treatment plan.
The next stage involves completing all relevant consent forms and preparing for the egg-freezing treatment.
You will receive a link via email to our online consent form portal to access all the relevant HFEA consent forms and clinic consent forms. Please ask for a copy of your consent forms. You can withdraw or alter your form/s at any time — before, during or after your treatment.
At your hour-long consultation, your nurse will cover the following:
- An ID check.
- A discussion about your personalised medication and treatment plan.
- Witnessing your consent forms
Following your nurse’s appointment, you can buy your medication from your local pharmacy or order online from a home-delivery service. You should also ensure you have the appropriate needles and syringes, and that you have been provided with a sharps bin.
Please follow the storage instructions carefully, as some drugs need to be refrigerated.
The final step is your egg-freezing treatment. This includes ovarian stimulation, egg collection and lastly, freezing and storage.
The egg-freezing procedure involves administering hormonal injections to stimulate the ovaries for around 12 days. All of the drugs used for egg freezing treatment are administered subcutaneously i.e., under the skin. Most patients self-inject the drugs.
Your consultant will give you further instructions on how to prepare for your egg collection, including exactly how and when you should take the medication, as well as anything else you need to know in the time leading up to the procedure.
The eggs are then collected under sedation. The egg collection is a relatively non-invasive procedure and carries minimal risks. You may bring a friend or relative with you, although this is not mandatory. You must, however, have someone collect you after the procedure and stay with you for 24 hours post-procedure.
On the day of egg collection, your mature eggs will be extracted and then vitrified (frozen) for future use. Rarely, no eggs may be suitable for freezing. You will be told how many eggs were collected and the number put in storage.
Egg-freezing success rates
Birth rates from own frozen eggs (not donors) are increasing at 18% per treatment cycle, according to HFEA data. Live birth rates are affected by various factors, the most significant being the age at the time of collection and the number of eggs frozen.
What is the best age to freeze your eggs?
The most critical factor that affects the success rates of egg freezing is the age of the women at the time of freezing. That’s because there is a steep decline in female fertility over the age of 35, which impacts both natural conception and IVF success rates. The age of thawing the eggs does not seem to influence the outcome significantly.
Success rates for egg survival after thawing are also affected by age at the time of collection. For those women who have eggs frozen before the age of 36, there is a 95% success rate of survival, which declines to 85% when the eggs are collected after the age of 36.
Therefore, the likelihood of a successful outcome following egg freezing is based on the age at the time of freezing one’s eggs. Freezing eggs before your early 30s would be the ideal time to have the best chance of a successful outcome in future. When one freezes later in life, the process may be more invasive and expensive due to the natural decline in fertility, as more cycles may be needed to collect the desired number of eggs.
How much does it cost to freeze eggs?
At IVF Matters, we believe that freezing your eggs should not be a source of financial stress or embarrassment. We offer leading technology and treatment options at affordable costs.
Our egg-freezing packages include:
1) Egg-freezing treatment
2) Annual storage
Egg freezing treatment – £3,999
A single-cycle egg freezing treatment includes the following:
• HFEA fee
• Nurse consultation
• Cycle management
• Ultrasound monitoring
• Egg collection under sedation
• Egg freezing and storage for one year
• Consultation with nutritionist
• Blood tests – £349
2-cycle egg freezing package – £7,499
Our two-cycle egg freezing package includes:
• HFEA fee
• Nurse consultation
• Cycle management
• Ultrasound monitoring
• Egg collection under sedation
• Egg freezing and storage for one year
• Consultation with nutritionist (First cycle only)
• Blood tests (First cycle only)
Why Choose IVF Matters?
We strive to provide our patients with exceptional support and understanding while they are going through their fertility evaluation and egg freezing treatment.
Our IVF clinic offers leading-edge technology and treatment options at affordable costs. We are the UK's first clinic to offer interest-free Buy Now Pay Later payment plans for diagnostic fertility tests. Our unique approach has helped us secure:
We believe that freezing your eggs should not be a source of stress or embarrassment, and we put our patients at the heart of everything we do. We focus on individualised care so that our clients understand their treatment options and feel confident making decisions about preserving their fertility.
Meet with Dr Irfana Koita
Our Medical Director Dr Irfana Koita takes the time to get to know her patients, their history and their specific needs.
This personal attention by the physician is the number 1 rule of our clinic.
Dr Koita is a fellow of the prestigious Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (FRCOG), has done a Masters in Healthcare Leadership from Cornell University in the USA, and has trained at the prestigious King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London to obtain hands-on training in Assisted Conception, and is also recognized nationally as an expert in her field.
Watch Jessica Wright's Review About IVF Matters
Your Next Steps
We understand that navigating fertility services, like freezing your eggs, can seem like a daunting process, and you may not know where to start — but we’re here to support you every step of the way.
Before you embark on a consultation for egg freezing treatment with our director and fertility specialist Dr Irfana Koita, you can schedule an informal 15-minute video call with her. This advisory call is free of charge and there is no commitment.
We look forward to hearing from you and helping you start this exciting journe
How it Works?
Egg Freezing | Egg Vitrification | Fertility Preservation (1:09)
Egg Freezing | Process (2:20)
Egg Freezing | Advantages and Risks (1:37)
Egg Freezing | Egg Collection Demo (1:26)
Egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation is a method of fertility preservation. As per data published by UK’s fertility regulator The HFEA in Sept 2018, egg freezing cycles are on the rise and currently make up around 1.5% of all fertility treatment cycles carried out across the UK with majority of treatments taking place in London.
The 1st birth from frozen eggs using vitrification was documented in 1999. This was followed by the HFEA permitting egg freezing treatment in the UK from 2000.
How are the frozen eggs used?
When one is ready to have a baby, the eggs are defrosted by a process called egg thawing. The freezing process hardens the layer surrounding the eggs and hence it is recommended to inject the sperm into the eggs using a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI. The fertilised egg is then observed in the laboratory until the embryo is transferred into the uterine cavity.
"91% of women using frozen eggs in a thaw treatment cycle were registered with a male partner at the time of egg thawing" HFEA.
There are 2 main reasons why women in the UK freeze their eggs:
• Social – to delay their child bearing whilst they find the right partner (46% of those who freeze their eggs are single), to pursue their career or because they are not ready to have children.
•Medical – they are having treatment for cancer which is likely to affect their fertility or they have other medical problems like severe endometriosis.
1. Your age at the time of starting treatment
As per the HFEA data, most women who froze their eggs in 2016 were over 35. The commonest age to freeze eggs was 38. However, the most common age women came back for fertility treatment to use their cryopreserved eggs was 40.
“There are many women freezing eggs into their 40s and even 50s. Given the scientific consensus around age-related fertility decline, it is not clear why patients of this age are freezing eggs and we would caution against this being a sensible option for this group of women.” HFEA
When should women be freezing their eggs?
‘Standard’ fresh IVF does not offer a solution to age-related fertility decline because it cannot reverse the egg degeneration that comes with getting older’. This is why the age a woman is when she freezes her eggs is so important. HFEA
In cases over the age of 35, we know there is a steep decline in fertility and this has an impact on both natural conception and IVF success rates. HFEA
The likelihood of a successful outcome following egg freezing is based on the age at the time of freezing one’s eggs. Hence, freezing eggs prior to early 30s would be the ideal time to have the best chance of a successful outcome in future. However, young women are likely to get pregnant spontaneously and are hence, are less likely to use their frozen eggs. The current 10-year legal limit on storage of frozen eggs means the frozen eggs are to be used within this period.
When one freezes later in life, the process may be more invasive and expensive due to the natural decline in fertility as more cycles may be needed to collect the desired number of eggs. The chances of treatment being successful reduces but one is more likely to use the frozen eggs.
2. Cost of treatment – how will you fund your treatment
3. Risks associated with the treatment – it is generally a safe treatment
4. Chances of success – The birth rate from frozen own eggs is 18% per treatment cycle
5. Risk of not using the frozen eggs - There is a chance that one may conceive spontaneously and hence, may not use the frozen eggs in the future
6. Risk to baby and mother - Currently 2000 babies worldwide have been born from cryopreserved eggs but long-term studies on safety for children born from this process are not yet available. Evidence to date, shows no differences between the use of vitrified or fresh eggs in the rates of obstetrical problems in pregnancy. There are no increased risks of chromosomal anomalies or significant physical or developmental deficits in the babies born.
“Egg freezing is emerging as a viable clinical technique to preserve women’s fertility, providing the eggs are frozen at a clinically optimum age, and the patient is aware of the risks and possibility of becoming pregnant naturally. The evidence suggests that if eggs are frozen below the age of 35, the chances of success using these frozen eggs is higher than the natural conception rate as the woman gets older.
The results of our analysis are supported by international evidence which suggests egg freezing is a successful and cost-effective method of preserving fertility.” HFEA
Below is a list of commonly used medication for egg freezing treatment. You may be on some of them. Please refer to your personalised treatment plan to see which medication is prescribed for you.
• Norethisterone – oral tablets
These are progestogen tablets usually given in the cycle preceding treatment (normally days 14-25). You should have protected intercourse prior to and whilst you are on them. They are given to help prevent the formation of ovarian cysts. Your period should start 3-7 days after stopping the medication. If it is more than 7 days late, please do a urine pregnancy test and inform your doctor.
• GnRH antagonist – eg Inj Cetrotide subcutaneous injections
This drug is used to help prevent premature ovulation prior to egg retrieval. It is given as a subcutaneous injection once daily, usually from day 6 of the cycle during the stimulation phase of treatment, until the day of the trigger injection.
• GnRH agonist – eg Buserelin nasal spray or subcutaneous injections
This drug “switches off” hormone production within the body during treatment. The most common way to administer this drug is via a nasal spray, one sniff into each nostril four times daily. It can also be given in the form of a subcutaneous injection once a day. It is usually started from day 21 of your cycle in the month preceding treatment. Your doctor will inform you when to stop taking it. GnRH agonists may also be used to mature the eggs prior to egg collection, as a trigger injection in those who are on GnRH antagonists. One may experience menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness and hot flushes whilst taking this medication.
• Inj FSH – eg Inj Meriofert, Inj Gonal F subcutaneous injections
These injections are used for ovarian stimulation. They are given as subcutaneous injections for around 9 to 12 days. They aim to stimulate the growth of the follicles in the ovaries that contain the eggs, so that several eggs are produced. They should be administered at roughly the same time every day.
• Inj Growth Hormone – eg Inj Zomacton subcutaneous injections
This drug is given to help improve the response to ovarian stimulation. It is given as a subcutaneous injection on alternate days during the stimulation phase of treatment.
• Inj hCG – eg Inj Ovitrelle, Inj Gonasi subcutaneous injections
This is the also called the trigger injection. It contains hCG, the hormone that matures the eggs prior to egg collection. These are subcutaneous injections, although some brands may need to be taken as an intramuscular injection. These injections need to be given at a specific time (usually 36-37 hours before egg collection). Your doctor will let you know the date and time your injection should be administered.
Egg collection is a relatively non-invasive procedure and carries minimal risks. But as with any medical procedure, there may be side effects, which are typically minor and temporary.
Possible side effects or risks from the medication can include:
- Hormonal fluctuations leading to bloating
- Bruising, soreness or redness in the injection site
Post-procedure side effects from the egg collection can include:
- Grogginess (which should abate within 24 hours)
- Abdominal cramping or vaginal soreness
- Vaginal bleeding - this settles in a few days
- A slight risk of infection — antibiotics are typically given during the procedure to minimise this risk
- Irregular periods (which should resolve on their own within a few cycles)
More serious risks of the egg collection procedure are extremely low.
- The risk of injury to internal organs such as the bladder, blood vessels and bowel is very low. Usually, no further action is needed as it is only a needle stick injury.
- Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is a complication that sometimes affects young women with very active ovaries. This condition is characterised by swollen ovaries and fluid retention in the abdomen leading to nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. In rare cases, this requires bed rest and monitoring, and in the most severe cases, treatment requires hospitalisation.
It is possible to freeze eggs on the NHS if you need to undergo medical treatment that will affect your fertility, for example, chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
If you would like to freeze your eggs for social reasons (because you want to delay having a child for your own reasons), doing the egg-freezing treatment on the NHS is not possible.
For this reason, 90% of cycles in the UK are self-funded.