The Baby Dilemma: Hope in a Tank
Egg Freezing 101
What it takes to put your fertility on ice.
- Blood test to measure follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol
levels on the third day of your period.
- Ovary check with ultrasound to count follicles and confirm they’re
- One month of birth-control pills to regulate cycle and synchronize
follicles for stimulation.
- Blood test to make sure hormone levels haven’t changed
- Ten- to 14-day regimen of injections to activate your follicles to produce
eggs and to keep your body from prematurely letting go of them. Insurance often
doesn’t cover this. (Mine didn’t, so I was on the hook for an extra
- Blood tests to check whether medication levels need to be adjusted, and
frequent ultrasounds to measure how big the follicles are growing.
- Thirty-six hours before the retrieval, shot of hCG hormone forces follicles
to mature and triggers release of the eggs.
- Retrieval day! Ten minutes of IV sedation. Ultrasonic probe needle pierces
the vaginal wall and goes through each ovary to suck out the eggs.
- Eggs are immersed in a solution that dehydrates and refills them to prevent
ice crystals. Then they are slowly frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen.
Originally published on: April 18, 2008
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