Each woman is born with a huge number of oocytes. This number makes around 2-3 billions of oocytes. Every year this number progressively diminishes and by the time a women reaches puberty, the number of her oocytes is around 400 000 – 500 000. Every month one oocyte comes out of the ovarian follicle and can be fertilized by a sperm. Around 1000 oocytes are reabsorbed and vanish without being used for their intended purpose. Every year fewer and fewer oocytes are left and by the time a woman reaches the age of 35 their number becomes critically law. Each woman is born with her unique number of oocytes and there is no way to predict when it will considerably decrease. However, for today numerous scientific researches show a firm correlation between age and lowering of oocyte number.
It is known that with the age not only the number of oocytes becomes lower, their quality deteriorates as well. So, once a woman reaches 35, the quality of her oocytes drops significantly. What does this mean? Each oocyte carries genetic material which is a foundation for the inception of a new life. In the course of aging significantly rises the risk of chromosomal mutations – breakage of this genetic material. In consequence, the risk of giving a birth to a child with the Down syndrome grows with the age and doubles in 35.
For this reason, the most optimal time for giving birth to a child is considered the age between 30 and 35. However, not all women are ready for a baby at this age. Some of them have not found a partner for starting a family, some - have just found a new and extremely interesting job, and some have to deal with some extra occupational issues, etc. The reasons for the delayed maternity are multiple and modern women begin to think about motherhood notably later.
Can we stop ticking of the biological clock? Yes! You can undergo the vitrification procedure of your oocytes. What does it mean? This procedure allows us to retrieve oocytes, freeze them with the help of vitrification method and store the vitrified oocytes until the woman is ready to become a mother. This procedure very much resembles the procedure of ovarian stimulation in regular IVF cycles. At first the women takes hormonal injections which stimulate the growth of follicles and development of oocytes. Later on the oocytes are retrieved during a sonografically-guided vaginal oocyte retrieval and are vitrified. So, we can ‘postpone’ maternity and allow the time for women to build their successful career, find a reliable life partner and arrange their extraoccupational life without concerns about avid deterioration of number of oocytes and their quality.
However, age is not the only factor which influences the number and quality of oocytes. To destructive factors can also be referred effect produced by radiation and chemotherapeutic agents in the course of oncological diseases treatment. Thanks to modern achievements in the field of oncology, for today it is observed the increase in the number of patients who successfully defeat ed their disease. On daily basis hundreds of people cross a five year boundary of struggling for their future, leaving behind cancer, this, incurable until quite recently, disease. Unfortunately, oncological patients are people of different ages, from newborns up to our grandparents. Very often these victories are gained at a heavy cost. Modern chemotherapeutic agents that efficiently treat cancer on advanced stages, however, produce poisonous effect on body, especially on the reproductive system, depriving such patients of encountering the happiness of parenthood. Not always doctors inform the patient prior to radio or chemotherapy of their destructive effect on gametogenesis (ovogenesis and spermatogenesis) as the doctor’s target is to preserve the patient’s life. The question remains whether it will be a fulfilling life. The patient should be always warmed about this effect and about the possibility to preserve their reproductive function.
Currently oncological patients have a chance to preserve their reproductive function. Having vitrified your oocytes or sperm prior to chemo or radio therapy, you will be able to encounter the happiness of parenthood after successful overcoming of an oncological disease.
When is it proper to use oocyte vitrification?
- Desire to delay your maternity
- Prior to chemo and radiotherapy
- In in vitro cycles when on the day of egg retrieval no sperm was received