Egg Freezing Offers Pregnancy Option | NBC Southern California

Egg Freezing Offers Pregnancy Option

Ovum cryo-preservation places a woman's eggs in a state of suspended animation



    (Published Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013)

    Attorney Danielle Davidian's hopes of bearing a child began to fade as she neared 40 -- a dream deferred by career and love's hits and misses.

    Three years ago, Davidian, now 43, turned to Dr. Mark Surrey, of the Southern California Reproductive Center, and a process known as ovum cryo-preservation -- egg freezing.

    "When I turned 40, it hit me," Davidian said. "I'm running out of time here, and I better do something. I wanted options."

    Ovum cryo-preservation places a woman's eggs in a state of suspended animation. It involves a series of hormonal injections to stimulate egg production.

    Matured eggs are then retrieved about one month later in an outpatient procedure. They are sent to a laboratory, where they are placed in a deep freeze -- minus 340-degrees fahrenheit.

    The eggs can, potentially, stay in that state forever, said Surrey.

    Once thawed, the eggs are fertilized. Viability can be checked, and not all eggs will work, but experts said frozen eggs offer a chance that might not otherwise exist.

    One of Davidian's eggs was fertilized and implanted about two weeks ago. She found out Monday night that she is not pregnant, but told NBC4 she would try the process again.

    Insurance rarely covers egg freezing, which costs about $15,000 per round.

    Click the video above to watch Dr. Surrey explain the process.

    Additional Information:

    • If ethical beliefs permit, one benefit to freezing eggs and fertilizing them outside the womb is that genetic testing can be done. Testing cannot be done in the womb.
    • The younger you are, the better.
    • An embryoscope does a real-time analysis of the embryo's development before it is implanted. Doctors can choose  the healthiest embryo.

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