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The Egg Freezing Revolution Gathers Pace: Fertility Road magazine exclusive interview

Fertility expert Dr Aimee Eyvazzadeh has made the news recently for hosting ‘egg freezing parties’ in the San Francisco Bay area, where in a social setting she spreads understanding of oocyte cryopreservation, AKA egg freezing, and the fertility process.



Egg Freezing
Egg Freezing

Egg Freezing

Fertility expert Dr Aimee Eyvazzadeh has made the news recently for hosting ‘egg freezing parties’ in the San Francisco Bay area, where in a social setting she spreads understanding of oocyte cryopreservation, AKA egg freezing, and the fertility process.

“Freezing your eggs isn’t about scaring women into thinking they’re infertile; it’s about giving them an option,” she says, speaking exclusively to Fertility Road magazine. “It’s about giving them a chance for something in the future.”

A procedure growing in popularity, Dr Eyvazzadeh considers our attitude to egg freezing to have changed drastically in the past decade.

“I would say we’re seeing more and more women getting their eggs frozen. I have been doing egg freezing for patients with fertility threatening conditions since 2005, and from around 2008 I started doing it for non-medical reasons; preserving fertility or at least giving a woman the option of having more kids.”

The prominent reproductive doctor explains the process of oocyte cryopreservation where healthy eggs are stored for potential use at a later date. “The process of freezing eggs is similar to a traditional IVF cycle. It takes between 2-4 weeks depending on a woman’s individualised medication protocol,” she explains.

“During the 2-4 weeks a combination of pills and injectable medications are used to get a woman’s eggs ready for retrieval. The injectable medication portion lasts approximately 10 days, and the egg retrieval is similar to an ultrasound while sleeping. It’s a pelvic ultrasound and the eggs are drained through a small needle in the vagina – you just go into each of the follicles and drain an individual egg. After the egg retrieval, the woman is awake. She usually stays home for that first day but after that she can go to work.”

The process of freezing allows eggs to be stored at optimum quality, rather than waiting until a woman is ready to conceive, at which point her fertility may have diminished. One benefit of oocyte cryopreservation is the extended time period in which the eggs remain viable. “What I tell patients is there’s no such thing as freezer burn. It’s not like putting a piece of chicken in the freezer and having to eat it within a week before ice crystals appear! The whole thing about this technology is that if your eggs are frozen and the right IVF plan is applied, you can use them six, 10 or 20 years later.”

And egg freezing doesn’t harvest ‘future’ eggs – these particular eggs would already be lost through the process of ovulation. “IVF doctors rescue eggs you would have lost that month anyway,” she explains.

Various Silicon Valley companies have made headlines of late by introducing the workplace benefit of egg freezing, with Apple and Facebook offering the benefit to their female employees.

“Women who had the benefit of IVF could have their eggs frozen but this is just another level where female employees can get their eggs frozen and then use IVF later to actually make the embryo if they need it. I love that these companies came out and said this – I can only imagine that most of the big tech companies are going to have to follow suit and offer the same benefit.”

It’s fair to say, however, that the concept of egg freezing has met considerable opposition. But Dr Eyvazzadeh remains unperturbed. “I hear some opponents of egg freezing saying it’s sexist and that these companies should also cover sperm freezing. Did you know sperm freezing costs one tenth of what egg freezing costs? Women can’t just go into a room and put their eggs in a cup. Men can do that and it costs only $150. Sperm freezing has been around forever and I don’t see anyone protesting outside the sperm banks that somehow we’re keeping men working longer; the arguments just aren’t fair.”

And Dr Eyvazzadeh stresses that fertility remains an issue that women need to be addressing much earlier. “There’s a myth that fertility rates decline at 35 and that’s when you’re given this diagnosis of advanced maternal age. But it’s actually age 25,” she says. “What’s happening now is women think that if you go to a fertility doctor at the age of 45 miracles will occur and you’ll get pregnant. But that’s one of the biggest problems: the belief that science has progressed to such a point that you can turn a bad egg into a good egg. That isn’t the case at all. Your fertility is not skin deep so it doesn’t matter how good you look on the outside, your age is always a big indicator to IVF success.

“Fertility rates decline at 25, however women are not ‘fertile aware’ until their mid-thirties – at least in my own San Francisco community, where the age of fi rst birth is around 33. Many of these women who start thinking about getting pregnant are surprised when they learn they are not going to be as successful as if they’d tried in their twenties.

“The media hears ‘egg freezing party’ and thinks I’m selling Tupperware, but I’m not. It’s all about having a conversation, and what I tell people is to start asking the right questions no matter how old they are, and I really want to talk to those women who are in their twenties and early thirties.”

Dr Eyvazzadeh stresses that while this procedure has not always been available, she’s now spreading the message to aid younger generations. “When people come to me and say, ‘Why didn’t I freeze my eggs 10 years ago?’ I tell them that, honestly, the technology was not there. But the technology is here now so I want people to hear about it – my egg freezing parties aren’t about selling egg freezing, they’re about learning how to be fertile-aware.”

With one in six women encountering infertility, Dr Eyvazzadeh has some advice. “When you check in with your doctor for a pap smear – I did not coin this phrase – ask for an ‘egg timer test’ to check your hormone levels, just so it’s not a surprise to you if later, when you’re older, your hormone levels show that your egg quality is low. “Importantly, the levels don’t tell you if you can or can’t get pregnant, they’re just a guide, so that you can empower yourself with your own health information and make your own reproductive decisions.”

Dr Eyvazzadeh clearly wants to empower women to make their own reproductive decisions. For her, egg freezing is an important reproductive safeguard and having performed oocyte cryopreservation for a decade, she has personal experience with the process. “I froze my sister’s eggs when she was 32 years old. She’s also a doctor and had her first baby at the age of 36, and she didn’t have to use her retrieved eggs. But if she wants more kids, maybe later, she now has the option to.

“I can tell you I’ve had patients in their forties come to me who were donors yet have run out of eggs and are very disappointed that they have biological eggs out there but they won’t be able to have their own as they waited too long.”

Dr Eyvazzadeh says that asking questions about our fertility in our twenties will secure better chances of conceiving later; her need to look after young donors follows suit. And with oocyte cryopreservation a growing fertility phenomenon, the message is spreading.

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Fertility 360

NEWS: Get access to adult photos of the Cryos sperm donors



Adult Cryos Sperm Donors Photos

Viewing adult photos of Cryos sperm donors is now a reality. Visit today and get access to the new feature.

At Cryos it is now possible to access adult photos of sperm donors on our website, thus adding another dimension to your search for the perfect donor.

The unique chance to see both childhood and adult photos of your sperm donor, provides you with a more comprehensive idea of who your sperm donor is and moreover of the features of your future child. We hope that this extra dimension will upgrade your experience making your decision of a sperm donor easier.

The 5-6 adult photos are taken by a professional photographer and are a part of the donors extended profile where you also have access to childhood photos, an audio recording of the donor’s voice, a handwritten message, an emotional intelligence profile, and finally our staff impressions of the donor, amongst other exclusive features.

The adult photos require special access on our website. Visit our website and find out more and get access to this new feature now.

Please note that the person in the photos is a model and not a Cryos donor.
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Fertility 360

Fertility And Sex: Why Her Orgasm Matters



Why her orgasm matters

For many couples, trying to conceive can make sex feel less fun and more pressured. Instead of being an intimate and enjoyable experience, baby-making sex can start to seem like a finely choreographed routine. Often, the female orgasm is one of the first things to go, but the maleorgasm is not the only orgasm that matters when it comes to fertility.

Before I dive into discussing the potential benefits of the female orgasm for fertility, it’s important to note that reaching climax is not technically essential for conception. If you never, or rarely, achieve orgasm, don’t worry, you can still get pregnant! Around 1 in 10 women don’t experience orgasm, ever. What’s more, the exact nature of the female orgasm remains somewhat elusive. Some experience orgasm through clitoral stimulation, some through vaginal intercourse, some through both, and others through something else entirely, or not at all.

Even without reaching orgasm, sexual arousal is itself beneficial to fertility. Like an orgasm, arousal is, first and foremost, a good indication that sex is enjoyable. Sexual arousal and climax causes significant changes in your levels of neurotransmitters including noradrenaline, oxytocin, prolactin, dopamine, and serotonin. These ‘reward’ neurohormones help you bond to a sexual partner and make it more likely that you’ll have sex more often, thereby increasing your chances of conception.

Second, orgasm and arousal have a range of physiological effects that might aid conception, which I’ll discuss in a moment. And, third, sexual arousal and orgasms for everyone can help sperm-producing partners avoid feeling like they’re being used just for their sperm. In fact, some studies show that male partners who engage in cunnilingus prior to vaginal intercourse have greater sexual arousal and produce more semen!


The female orgasm can help relieve stress, and promote healthy circulation and balance in the body. Stress is a key cause of diminished libido and may also reduce the chances of conception by raising levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Conversely, good sex can help raise levels of oxytocin and the other neurohormones mentioned above. These help you to relax and bond to your partner.

Published in 1967, the author even went as far as suggesting that the increase in these hormones after orgasm help support conception by temporarily incapacitating you. Put simply, this ‘poleax’ effect means you’ll feel so relaxed that you’ll stay lying down, which may increase your chance of conceiving. Whether staying supine does make conception more likely is still under debate, but I’m all for promoting relaxation, so if this theory provides added motivation, go for it!


There is some suggestion that orgasm affects the shape and function of the cervix. These effects, which may include cervical ‘tenting could enhance the likelihood of conception by promoting the movement of sperm into the uterus and beyond. If you are curious as to what your cervix looks like during different stages of your cycle, check out these photos.


One of the main ways in which female orgasm has been linked to fertility is something called the ‘upsuck’ theory (or, sometimes, the ‘insuck’ theory). This theory proposes that the female orgasm causes uterine and vaginal contractions that actively draw semen up into the uterus and towards the fallopian tubes, thereby increasing the chances of an egg being fertilized.

Scientific evidence to support this theory is rather inconsistent, but there’s certainly no harm in trying! One proposed underlying mechanism of this theory is oxytocin-mediated uterine peristalsis, i.e. the same mechanism that causes uterine contractions during labour could be partially responsible for increasing the likelihood of conception. Indeed, some research has found higher pregnancy rates in women shown to experience this ‘insuck’ phenomenon.


More recently, one small study found that orgasm may increase sperm retention. This study involved women using a syringe to insert a sperm simulant (lube) prior to external stimulation to orgasm. As such, the study’s findings may be especially applicable to anyone undergoing artificial insemination (IUI).

The take-away: Chances are that if you orgasm 1 minute before or up to 45 minutes after insemination (whether artificial or otherwise), you will probably retain more sperm, which may increase your chance of conceiving.


To sum up, the female orgasm might enhance fertility in a variety of ways, but it isn’t essential to conception.

The take home message is that orgasm and sexual arousal itself have many benefits to fertility, partner relationships and stress relief. Don’t worry though, if you have a low libido, conception can still happen even in the absence of arousal and orgasm!

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Fertility 360

What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?



Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that affects 5 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age across the world, and results in irregular or absent periods, acne, excess body hair and weight gain. It is also a major cause of infertility and yet is frequently misdiagnosed and often missed completely.

PCOS gets its name because under an ultrasound scan, the ovaries can look like a bunch of grapes, each one covered in what look like multiple cysts. In fact, these aren’t cysts at all, but are small, undeveloped follicles.


Not every woman with PCOS will get the same symptoms, but common signs to look out for include:

  • Few or no periods
  • Excess hair on the face or breasts or inside of the legs or around the nipples
  • Acne
  • Oily skin
  • Scalp hair thinning or loss (male pattern baldness)
  • Skin tags (known as acrochordons)
  • Skin discolouration (known as acanthosis nigricans) where the skin looks ‘dirty’ on the arms, around the neck and under the breasts
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Lack of sex drive
  • Weight gain especially around the middle of the body
  • Difficulty in losing weight
  • Cravings and binges
  • Irregular or no ovulation
  • Difficulty in becoming pregnant
  • Recurrent miscarriages

PCOS creates a vicious cycle of hormone imbalances, which has huge knock-on effects throughout the rest of your body. With PCOS, the problem often starts with the ovaries, which are unable to produce the hormones they should, and in the correct proportions. But linked to this is the very common problem of insulin resistance. Women with PCOS very often have difficulties with blood sugar levels which can cause weight gain and the excess insulin can stimulate your ovaries to produce yet more testosterone. Half of all women with PCOS do not have any problems with their weight, yet they can still have higher insulin levels than normal.

How is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome diagnosed?

The most widely accepted criteria for the diagnosis of PCOS says that you should have two out of these three problems:

  • Infrequent or no ovulation
  • Signs (either physical appearance – hirsutism or acne – or blood tests) of high levels of male hormones
  • Polycystic ovaries as seen on an ultrasound scan

The Seven Nutritional Steps to beat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Good nutrition is the foundation of your health and you should never underestimate how powerful it can be. It is the fuel that provides you with the energy to live your life and it gives your body the nutrients it needs to produce your hormones in the correct balance. The better the supply of those nutrients, the more healthily your body will function.

The fundamental aim of my nutritional approach to PCOS is to target a number of areas simultaneously so that you get the maximum effect in the minimum amount of time.

Here’s how:

  1. Switch to unrefined carbohydrates (eaten with protein) and never go more than 3 hours without food to keep your blood sugar levels balanced
  2. Eat oily fish and foods rich in Omega 3s to help your body to become more sensitive to insulin so it can overcome insulin resistance
  3. Cut out all dairy products for 3 months to bring levels of male hormones under control
  4. Eat more vegetables and pulses to which helps control male hormones
  5. Cut right back on or cut out alcohol for 12 weeks to allow your liver function to improve
  6. Cut down on caffeine to give your adrenal glands a rest
  7. Cut down on saturated fats and eliminate trans fats to help control the potentially damaging inflammatory processes PCOS causes in the body

PCOS Symptons

Best Supplements for PCOS

The use of certain vitamins and minerals can be extremely useful in helping to correct Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, along with a good diet.


Chromium helps to encourage the formation of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which is required to make insulin more efficient. A deficiency of chromium can lead to insulin resistance.  It also helps to control cravings and reduces hunger. Can help to reduce insulin resistance associated with PCOS

B vitamins

The B vitamins are very important in helping to control the symptoms of PCOS. Vitamin B2 helps to burn fat, sugar and protein into energy. B3 is a component of GTF which is released every time blood sugar rises, and vitamin B3 helps to keep the levels in balance. Vitamin B5 has been shown to help with weight loss and B6 is also important for maintaining hormone balance and, together with B2 and B3, is necessary for normal thyroid function.


Zinc helps with PCOS as it plays a crucial role in the production of your reproductive hormones and also regulates your blood sugar.


Magnesium is an important mineral for dealing with PCOS because there is a strong link between magnesium levels and insulin resistance – the higher your magnesium levels the more sensitive you are likely to be to insulin.

Co-Enzyme Q10

Co-Q10 is a substance that your body produces in nearly every cell.  It helps to balance your blood sugar and lowering both glucose and insulin.

Alpha lipoic acid

This powerful antioxidant helps to regulate your blood sugar levels because it releases energy by burning glucose and it also helps to make you more insulin sensitive. It also has an effect on weight loss because if the glucose is being used for energy, your body releases less insulin and you then store less fat.

Omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids taken in supplement form have been found to reduce testosterone levels in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Amino Acids

Certain amino acids can be very helpful for PCOS as they can improve your insulin sensitivity and also can have an effect on weight loss.

N-Acetyl cysteine

In women with PCOS this amino acid helps reduce insulin levels and makes your body more sensitive to insulin. Study using NAC in women who were clomiphene resistant and had ovarian drilling.  After ovarian drilling, the women given NAC compared to a placebo showed a significantly higher increase in both ovulation and pregnancy rates and lower incidence of miscarriage.


Arginine can be helpful in reversing insulin resistance. In one study, a combination of both arginine and N-acetyl cysteine were given to women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.  The two amino acids help to improve blood sugar and insulin control and also increased the number of menstrual cycles and ovulation with one women becoming pregnant on the second month.


Carnitine helps your body break down fat to release energy and can help improve insulin sensitivity.


Tyrosine is helpful for women with PCOS who are overweight as it helps to suppress the appetite and burn off fat.


This amino acid is useful for helping with sugar cravings as it can be converted to sugar for energy and so takes away the need to eat something sweet.  It also helps to build and maintain muscle which is important for fat burning.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs include three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are important in PCOS because they help to balance blood sugar and having good levels of these BCAAs can have a beneficial effect on your body weight


A study used inositol (2,000mg) in combination with NAC (600mg), a significant increase in ovulation rates.

Having a good diet, regular exercise, controlling stress and taking key nutrients will help in getting your hormones back in balance and reducing the negative symptoms associated with PCOS.

More information can be found on

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