Oocyte banking is an advanced procedure of ART where a woman's eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen and stored in oocyte bank.
These eggs may be used later when she is wants to conceive. The procedure of oocyte freezing is similar to embryo freezing. The oocytes are stored just like embryos in tanks of liquid nitrogen. The eggs/oocytes are thawed before use and then fertilized with the husband/ male partners sperms and cultured in an IVF lab to produce embryos. Good quality embryos are subsequently transferred to the recipients uterus. This innovating procedure can help to preserve fertility in women about to start cancer chemo/radio therapy.
Oocyte banking is especially useful for women who have been diagnosed with cancer and are about to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Conventional radio/ chemotherapy used in treatment of cancer are toxic for oocytes, and leave few, if any, viable eggs/ oocytes; hence oocyte banking is a viable option for cancer patients.
Oocyte banking is also indicated for young women who intend to preserve their ability to have children in future as they wish to postpone pregnancy due to work and other career considerations.
Method of oocyte cryopreservation: For oocyte cryopreservation the eggs are retrieved after treatment with hormones. Treatment with hormone injections promotes development of several follicles, so that many eggs are available for egg retrieval. Once the follicles appear mature and are ready for ovulation H.C.G. is given. Eggs are retrieved 24-36 hours after administration of H.C.G. The eggs are retrieved with an ultrasound-guided needle through the vagina and they are then immediately frozen using the process of cryopreservation or vitrification.