What is egg freezing?
Egg freezing involves retrieving eggs from your ovaries, freezing them, and storing them for future use. As we age, our eggs can decline in quality. This is where egg freezing can help. It provides a way to stop time and maintain the youth of your eggs, keeping them healthy and high quality until you are ready to make the decision on whether or not to use them later in life.
Why should I freeze my eggs?
The cultural mindset around starting a family is evolving, with many women now opting to have children later in life due to a range of factors. Preserving your fertility through egg freezing is an invaluable way to add time to your biological clock, whether for health-related or personal motivations. While we’ve outlined several typical reasons for considering egg freezing below, our fertility specialists are here to guide you in assessing your unique fertility path and deciding if this is the right time to freeze your eggs.
Medical Reasons to Freeze your Eggs
- You are planning to undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapies.
- Showing signs of early menopause
- You are undergoing another treatment like IVF and would like to freeze extra fertilized embryos for future use
Social Reasons to Freeze your Eggs
- You want to focus on your career before having children
- You want to build a financial safety net
- You want to cross off a few more bucket list items before conceiving
- You haven’t met the right person and/or are not sure if you want children yet, but want to keep the option open
How many eggs should I freeze?
The number of eggs to freeze varies based on factors like age, fertility status, and family planning goals. Generally, freezing 15-20 mature eggs increases the likelihood of a successful pregnancy later on. Your fertility specialist can provide personalized guidance.
Is there an age limit to egg freezing?
There isn’t a strict age limit for egg freezing, but the quality and quantity of eggs decrease as women age. Many fertility clinics recommend egg freezing before the age of 35 to achieve optimal results. However, the decision to freeze eggs should be based on individual circumstances and discussed with a fertility specialist.
How successful is egg freezing?
Success rates of egg freezing depend on factors such as the age at which the eggs were frozen and the number of eggs retrieved. Generally, approximately 70% of eggs will survive the freezing process and about 40% of the eggs will be fertilized when thawed. The pregnancy rate depends on the woman’s age at the time her eggs were frozen. The pregnancy rate using frozen eggs ranges between 30-50% and is not that much different than using fresh eggs. Success rates appear to be significantly lower for women who freeze their eggs after the age of 38 due to the increase of chromosomal abnormalities. Women who freeze eggs after age 38 may need to have more eggs frozen in order to have a higher chance of success when they choose to utilize them, so may require multiple cycles to get enough eggs.
How safe is egg freezing?
Egg freezing is considered safe, with established protocols and rigorous laboratory practices. The process includes ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and freezing. Risks are generally minimal, but we recommend consulting with your fertility specialist to understand potential risks and benefits.
Is egg retrieval painful?
Egg retrieval is typically performed under anesthesia, which minimizes pain during the procedure. Afterward, some individuals may experience mild discomfort or cramping, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Are there any risks with egg freezing?
Egg freezing is generally considered safe, but as with any medical procedure, there are potential risks. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can occur due to the fertility medications used for ovarian stimulation. Other potential risks include infection, bleeding, and discomfort after the procedure. It is important to discuss your concerns and understand potential risks with your fertility specialist prior to undergoing the egg retrieval process.
How long can my eggs stay frozen?
Eggs can be stored for many years, with no upper time limit established. It is advisable to discuss storage durations with your fertility clinic.
What are my chances of getting pregnant with a frozen egg?
Success rates vary based on factors like your age at egg freezing, the number of eggs frozen, and the clinic’s expertise. Generally, the younger you are when you freeze your eggs, the higher the chances of success when you decide to use them.