Over recent decades there has been a tendency to postpone the first pregnancy in western societies.This is because it is the woman herself who decides when to become a mother due to social, professional or personal factors, this moment may be postponed.
On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that the ovarian reserve, that is both the number and the quality of the eggs a woman has, diminishes as she gets older, in a particularly noticeable way after the age of 37. This means that her fertility also diminishes.
If the decision is taken to postpone having children, and the woman is getting older, technological advances give us the option of the cryopreservation or vitrification of her oocytes to favour continued fertility.
What is needed for the vitrification of oocytes?
First of all, we need to establish the size of the ovarian reserve. In order to do this, we use what are called ovarian reserve markers: the levels of anti-Müllerian hormone and the antral follicle count as observed by ultrasound. We also do a general assessment to check for any possible contraindications that might impact on the choice of treatment.
If the markers show a decreasing ovarian reserve, we will not recommend the procedure. In general terms, it is advisable for it to be carried out before the age of 35. This is important, as the results of the technique can vary depending on age and other factors affecting each woman.
What does it consist of?
It is a form of hormonal stimulation to stimulate follicular growth. The treatment usually lasts for around two weeks, and does not disrupt the flow of everyday life. Once the eggs have been obtained, they are frozen by vitrification.
And what happens when the time comes to use the eggs?
When the woman decides that she wants to become pregnant, the eggs are thawed, and then the usual in vitro fertilisation process is carried out. (see) Once the eggs have been fertilised, the embryos are assessed and subsequently transferred to the woman’s uterus. Excess good quality embryos can then be cryopreserved in turn.