When eggs are frozen, they are brought from a temperature of 98.6°F (37°C) all the way down to -320°F (-196°C) instantaneously. Vitrification dehydrates the cells prior to freezing using protectants to remove as much water as possible (thus preventing harmful ice crystals from forming). Survival rates during the thawing process for vitrification are up to 99% versus the typical 55% for traditional freezing methods because the combination of cryoprotectants and flash freezing/thawing have a better chance of safely restoring the cell back to its original state.
Eggs are one of the largest cells in the human body and are comprised of two main parts: the zona pellucida (a glycoprotein envelope) and the ooplasm (the nucleus, containing mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, and the Golgi system). Because they are the largest cells in the body, they are particularly susceptible to damage from ice crystal formation.
This breakthrough in fertility preservation allows women seeking reproductive tissue preservation to bank healthy eggs prior to medical treatments that may affect their fertility.
New Hope Fertility Center has the only operational donor egg bank in the U.S. using vitrification to freeze eggs.
Egg freezing is an option for women who wish to preserve their fertility at an age when their eggs are most viable. We recommend women freeze their eggs in their 20’s or by the age of 35. There is, however, no age limit – it all depends on the woman’s body and if eggs can still be retrieved from her ovaries.