Ovarian stimulation for egg freezing is designed for optimal results
If you’re a candidate for egg freezing, a proven fertility treatment that can help you control the timing of your pregnancy, Dallas-Fort Worth Fertility Associates wants you to understand what to expect with ovarian stimulation.
An ovarian stimulation overview
Fertility drugs facilitate the egg freezing process by stimulating egg production in the ovaries. Normally, your ovaries release only one egg. For egg freezing to work well, more eggs—about 15-18—are needed. Fertility drugs can help you produce them.
In ovarian stimulation, you inject prescribed medications for 8 to 14 days to stimulate development of the follicles. The Southlake and Dallas fertility center teams will recommend a protocol likely to include taking follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), which are the body’s hormones involved in the natural ovulation process. We may prescribe other fertility medications.
During ovarian stimulation, you’ll visit our Southlake or Dallas fertility center about seven to eight times for morning monitoring appointments. An ultrasound will measure the growth of each follicle and thickness of the uterine lining, both of which will increase as you take medications. Blood tests will measure your estrogen level, a marker of the maturation of your eggs. When the largest follicles are mature — typically 19 to 20 millimeters in diameter — we’ll schedule the egg retrieval process.
We strive for optimal ovarian stimulation
The goal of ovarian stimulation is to produce a good amount of healthy eggs that have the potential to create a viable pregnancy. At our Dallas fertility center, we take your age into consideration because it’s a factor in whether your body can generate, in one cycle, the egg quantity needed for egg freezing. We don’t want to over- or under-stimulate your ovaries.
Over-stimulation prolongs your recovery period and can cause you pain and other complications.
Under-stimulation limits the number of eggs available for use.
Only eggs mature at the time of retrieval can be fertilized and evolve to a normal pregnancy. Not all eggs collected are suitable for freezing.
Medication needs, effects vary
You may require a minimal amount of hormones or a higher amount. Side effects are minimal and include abdominal discomfort, bloating, weight gain and irritability. Those effects typically occur a few days before egg retrieval, when dosages are at the highest levels. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a rare, but possible, side effect. A mild form occurs in about 10% of cycles; severe cases occur in only 1% of cycles.
Mild cases typically go away easily, requiring only increased fluid intake. Your risk for OHSS is greater if you have a low body weight, a large number of follicles, if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or if you have experienced a previous episode of OHSS. Our Dallas fertility center physicians will act promptly if you, or we, detect these or other problems.
Learn more about ovarian stimulation for egg freezing
You can learn more about the egg freezing process and whether it’s right for you. Please also contact our Southlake or Dallas fertility center locations for a consultation.