Egg Freezing & Fertility Preservation

Fertility preservation is an essential aspect of reproductive medicine that provides individuals and couples the opportunity to retain their ability to conceive in the future.

Fertility preservation practices have become increasingly important due to various reasons, including medical treatments that may compromise fertility (such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery), age-related fertility decline, as well as personal or career choices that lead to delay parenthood.

Fertility preservation offers a beacon of hope for those who wish to keep their options for biological children open.

Understanding Fertility Preservation

Fertility preservation is the process of saving or protecting eggs, sperm, or reproductive tissue so that a person can use them to have biological children in the future. This proactive approach is particularly relevant for cancer patients undergoing treatments that may affect their fertility, individuals with genetic conditions that could impact future fertility, and those who wish to delay parenthood for personal or professional reasons, which is an ever-increasing number of women.

Dr Genia Rozen is a leading expert in fertility preservation and egg freezing, having completed her PhD thesis on ‘Uterine function following radiotherapy’ which was funded by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) research grant.

Dr Rozen combines her expertise with compassionate care to guide you through the fertility preservation process with a plan that is unique to each person’s situation, any upcoming treatments, and current health status.

Egg freezing (scientifically known as oocyte cryopreservation) is a process that allows women to preserve their fertility by freezing their eggs for future use. This advanced reproductive technology offers women the opportunity to delay pregnancy for various reasons, including medical treatments, career planning, or not having found the right partner.

Dr Genia Rozen has a special interest in egg freezing and helps many women achieve peace of mind with this service.

How it works

  1. Ovarian Stimulation: The process begins with ovarian stimulation, where fertility drugs are used to encourage the ovaries to produce multiple eggs during one menstrual cycle. This is closely monitored through blood tests and ultrasound.
  2. Egg Retrieval: Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure known as transvaginal ultrasound aspiration. This involves using an ultrasound probe to guide a needle through the vagina and into the ovaries to collect the eggs. The procedure is usually done under sedation or anaesthesia to ensure comfort.
  3. Freezing: The retrieved eggs are then frozen using a process called vitrification, a rapid freezing technique that prevents ice crystals from forming, which could damage the eggs. The eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen until the woman is ready to use them.

Unfreezing process

When a woman decides to use her frozen eggs, they are thawed, fertilised with sperm through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and the resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus in hopes of achieving pregnancy.

Success rates

Success rates for egg freezing have improved significantly with advancements in vitrification. However, success is highly dependent on the age of the woman at the time of egg retrieval. Studies suggest that women who freeze their eggs before the age of 35 have higher rates of pregnancy success compared to those who freeze eggs at a later age. The likelihood of a live birth from frozen eggs can vary, with some estimates suggesting rates from 2% to 12% per egg for women under 35, decreasing with age.

Sperm freezing is a straightforward procedure that allows men to store sperm for future use. This method is beneficial for men undergoing medical treatments affecting fertility, facing surgical sterilisation, or wishing to delay fatherhood.

  • Statistics: The success rate of using frozen sperm varies depending on the sperm quality and the ART method used. However, frozen sperm has been used successfully in ART, with IUI success rates using frozen sperm ranging from 5-20% per cycle, similar to fresh sperm.

For couples or individuals undergoing IVF, embryo freezing provides an option to preserve embryos for future use. This method involves fertilising retrieved eggs with sperm in a lab and freezing the embryos at an early developmental stage.

  • Statistics: The success of using frozen embryos largely mirrors fresh IVF cycles, with a slight variation depending on the age of the woman when the embryos were created. The live birth rate per transfer of a frozen embryo can range from 20-40%.

This experimental technique involves removing and freezing ovarian tissue before treatments that could harm fertility. Later, the tissue can be reimplanted to restore fertility, though this method is still under research and considered for those with no other options.

  • Statistics: While still emerging, some reports suggest that around one-third of women who have ovarian tissue reimplanted achieve pregnancy. However, success rates can vary widely based on age and the specific medical condition.

Ovarian suppression uses medication to temporarily shut down the ovaries’ function, protecting them from the damaging effects of chemotherapy. The effectiveness of this method as a fertility preservation technique is still under study, and it is often considered adjunctive to other methods.

Testicular tissue freezing is an experimental approach aimed at preserving male fertility. It involves freezing tissue from the testes, which might be used in the future to restore fertility. This method is mainly considered for prepubertal boys who cannot produce sperm due to their age.

The diagnosis and treatment for cancer or other serious medical conditions such as severe endometriosis, aplastic anaemia, and some metabolic diseases, can be extremely stressful and traumatic.

The treatments, which are often necessary for cancer patients, can have a significant impact on your ability to conceive in the future.

Things can feel very rushed, as you’re starting to come to terms with your diagnosis. Having children may be the last thing you want to think about right now. But talking to a health professional now can help you to understand the long-term effects of your treatment and the options that are available to you.

Infertility after cancer, medical or surgical treatments may arise because:

  • The ovaries are damaged by radiotherapy, chemotherapy or other medications, causing loss of some or all of the eggs (oocytes)
  • Hormonal signalling between the brain and the ovaries has been disrupted
  • There is damage to the ovaries, uterus or fallopian tubes from surgery or radiotherapy


There are options to preserve your fertility worth considering:

  • Freezing eggs (oocytes), ovarian tissue or embryos for later use
  • Protecting the ovaries during chemotherapy or radiotherapy, using specific medications (GnRH treatment).

Dr Rozen’s Approach to Fertility Preservation

Fertility preservation offers a promising path for individuals who wish to delay parenthood or face treatments that could impair their fertility. With advances in reproductive technology, there are now several options available to help secure the possibility of biological children in the future.

By offering a range of preservation methods and personalised care plans, Dr Rozen can ensure that your journey to becoming a parent in the future starts on a solid foundation today, so that you can put your mind at ease.

Get in touch with our friendly team.

Dr Genia Rozen is a Melbourne gynaecologist and fertility specialist with 10+ years of experience dedicated to fertility medicine.

She holds a Masters of Reproductive Medicine (MRMED) degree and undertook three years of sub-specialising training in Fertility and Reproductive Medicine at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne. She is affiliated with Genea Fertility who are recognised leaders in advanced reproductive laboratory services.

Please get in touch if you have a question or wish to book an appointment.