An ova bank can have many functions. One of the main functions is to freeze and store ova, more commonly known as eggs or oocytes. This can be done for patients in need of preserving their fertility or for use in fertility treatment, due to a variety of personal or medical reasons. Another function of an ova bank is to provide fresh or stored donor ova samples to patients who need to make use of them, due to various reasons, in order to conceive a child.
A woman can freeze ova to make use of them at a later stage in her life. If you are worried about your reproductive future, for whatever reason, you can freeze your ova for future use. Your ova will be stored in the ova bank until you would like to use them.
If you are considering social freezing, or need more information about the process, please refer to the Wijnland Fertility Clinic website.
Infertile couples may resort to making use of donor ova when the female partner cannot have her own genetic children. This can be due to a wide range of reasons, but most commonly is due to:
Cryopreservation is the use of extremely low temperatures to preserve intact living cells and tissues. One method of cryopreservation is vitrification, and this method is mostly used for ova/egg freezing. Various recent studies have shown that, compared to fresh ova, frozen ova yield extremely similar results when it comes to pregnancy outcome.
The cryopreservation process of ova consists of three main steps:
It will be necessary to stimulate your ovaries to produce more follicles than they would in a normal cycle (the follicles contain the oocytes). The fertility specialist will prescribe medication that will promote the growth of more follicles. The follicular growth will be monitored and, once the follicles reach a certain size, the doctor and fertility sister will let you know and instruct you to trigger your ovulation, usually by means of an injection.
2. Oocyte retrieval
Once ovulation has been triggered – 36 hours later to be exact – your follicles will need to be aspirated to ensure that we retrieve all available oocytes. The aspiration is done in our theatre under anaesthesia. The procedure is quite quick and usually lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.
3. Oocyte Vitrification
Once all the oocytes are accounted for, they are vitrified and stored by the embryologist.
Cryopreserved ova, according to various studies, do not have an expiry date and can be kept in storage until you are ready to use them.