Ovally now supports patients undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) in addition to our egg and embryo freezing patients, by matching you with clinics that are up to 70% more affordable than comparable top clinics in the US, supporting you throughout your journey as your personal fertility coach, and serving as your individual travel planner for your IVF trip to Spain. That’s why we’re kicking off a new blog post series on IVF, starting with the basics: How does IVF work, and what happens when?
This is part 3 of Ovally founder Kathy’s personal daily account of her embryo freezing journey to Spain. Read the previous two posts on the stimulation period and egg retrieval. This set of posts takes you from the egg fertilization through embryo development, genetic testing, and freezing. It doesn’t include the last IVF step of embryo transfer.
What happens if you use your eggs or embryos that you’ve frozen through Ovally or elsewhere later on? In the case of frozen eggs, the eggs would be thawed and then fertilized with your partner’s or a donor’s sperm. The resulting embryo(s) would develop in the lab until they’d be ready to be implanted in the uterus (typically on day 5 of development). Then one embryo (in rare cases more than one) would be implanted through a catheter inserted all the way into the uterus, which sounds really uncomfortable, but is usually painless. Ideally the embryo would implant there, and a few days later a blood test would confirm a pregnancy. In the case of frozen embryos, only the embryo implantation or “embryo transfer” would have to take place, as the eggs would already have been fertilized and developed.
Unfortunately, there’s no perfect answer to this question, and there aren’t a ton of data available yet on egg freezing, as it’s a relatively new technique, and many freezers haven’t used their eggs yet. A few studies suggest an average 5-10% chance that an egg will result in a live birth with a range of individual differences. These percentages translate into needing to freeze at least 15 eggs to be relatively sure that they’d result in one baby. The chances seem to increase the younger the eggs are.