Egg freezing has advanced so rapidly that doctors are also unsure of how many embryos to transfer after the eggs have been thawed and fertilized. Doctors have assumed that embryos created from frozen eggs would result in a lower chance of pregnancy compared with embryos created through standard IVF (fresh eggs and fresh sperm).
Because ice crystals can form within the eggs and damage them, technicians remove the water from the eggs and bathe them in an 'antifreeze' solution before freezing. Laboratories vary in how they freeze the eggs. Some prefer a slow freezing technique, while others use a flash-freezing process called vitrification.
A hedge against infertility; CREDIT: Los Angeles Times; EXACTING METHOD: Egg freezing is a delicate procedure that hinges on the proper temperature and storage techniques.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Bryan Chan Los Angeles Times; A GOOD SIGN: Dr. [John Jain] of USC Fertility says his clinic's successful use of frozen eggs -- it recently announced a triple pregnancy -- shows that the science is viable.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Bryan Chan Los Angeles Times; RELIEF: [Megan Griswold] says freezing her eggs has given her peace of mind.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Kevin P. Casey For The Times; A DEVELOPING SCIENCE: Advances in the preservation of eggs have led more young women to have their eggs frozen for future fertilization.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Bryan Chan Los Angeles Times; SOLUTION: [Barbara Bestor] has opted to freeze her eggs.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Megan Spelman Los Angeles Times