August 9, 2019

Channel 4’s ‘I am Hannah’ puts a focus on fertility preservation

Freezing and Vitrification

As many of us know, a woman’s fertility is at its highest in her twenties and early thirties. But for many women, despite any social pressures they may feel to have a baby at this stage of life, it is not an option, and many are now planning to start families in their late 30s and 40’s. Due to the decline in the number and quality of a woman’s eggs after the age of 35, it can get harder to conceive as a woman gets older.

Channel 4’s ‘I am Hannah’, put a focus on fertility preservation, as it followed the life of single 36 year old Hannah (Gemma Chan), and the social pressures she begins to feel to have a child in her mid-30’s. Hannah seems to be surrounded by pregnant women and screaming school children. Even Hannah’s mother persuades her that she should be ‘getting on with it’. After a string of disastrous dates, Hannah eventually comes to the decision to freeze her eggs, but is told by her doctor that at this stage, she has little chance conceiving naturally or through treatment. But what are the facts when it comes to egg freezing?

How will I know if egg freezing is suitable for me?

In order to give you an informed choice about your options we would begin with an in depth assessment of your fertility potential. A specialist doctor will then provide advice on your chances of getting pregnant currently and the expected decline should you wish to pursue a family later in life.

What is the egg freezing process?

The procedure of freezing your eggs, should it be suitable for you, is made up of two main steps:

Egg collection – Freezing your eggs is very similar to the start of a standard IVF cycle. It involves a course of daily fertility drug injections for approximately 2 weeks followed by a procedure to collect the eggs.

Vitrification – The eggs are then carefully vitrified and put into store in liquid nitrogen at -196°C. They can be kept under these conditions without deteriorating for an indeterminate length of time.

How successful is egg freezing?

Eggs collected and stored earlier in life are of a better quality than those women produce later on. Patients who choose to freeze their eggs when they are under 35 tend to have higher success rates.

We have a small dataset of strong results for patients who have frozen eggs up to the age of 41 and later used them to become pregnant, but any recommendations relating to freezing will always be based on a comprehensive evaluation of each patient’s medical circumstances as well as their age.

What is the cost of freezing eggs?

The cost of our egg freezing service at Boston Place is £3895, including the full egg freezing cycle, expert consultant and nursing care throughout treatment and the storage of eggs for a year. Your initial consultation, and required drugs would be charged separately. For more information on pricing, see our Prices page.

If I am in a relationship should my partner also freeze his sperm?

For those in a heterosexual relationship, who would like to have a family together in the future, we would also discuss options surrounding embryo freezing. You would follow the same process as with egg freezing but before the vitrification the egg would be fertilised with your partner’s sperm.

Is it better to freeze Egg or Embryos?

Embryo freezing involves fertilising the woman’s extracted eggs with sperm, growing them up to six days in an incubator, and freezing them for future use. Because egg cells only consist of one big cell and are predominately water, they are less robust than embryos, which are made up of a more cells, and therefore are more likely to survive the warming process. However, egg freezing can still provide a good option for women who do not have a partner, or do not wish to create embryos with donor sperm.

Can I use a sperm donor to freeze embryos?

Yes! Our aim is to empower you to make an informed decision on the best treatment for you. Some women choose to use a sperm donor, as although the success rates for egg freezing continue to increase, those for embryo freezing still remain higher.

At Boston Place, our team of highly experienced staff are here to guide you and to help realise your hopes of pregnancy. If you are interested freezing your eggs, visit our Fertility Preservation page, or speak to our friendly team: +44 (0) 207 993 0870