Egg Freezing: What You Should Know
August 28, 2019
Egg freezing is a remarkable technology that can serve multiple purposes. Endocrinologists originally pursued advancements in egg freezing technology so women with cancer could preserve their fertility if a cancer/medical diagnosis or treatment threatened their fertility future. Now, there are multiple reasons women opt to freeze their eggs.
The most common candidates are women who won’t finish graduate degrees or want to work their way up the career ladder before taking time off to have a family can wait longer before trying to conceive. And, of course, women who haven’t met their Mr. or Mrs. Right before their biological clock starts ticking louder have a way of preserving their eggs when the eggs are younger and more viable, rather than having to face the fertility risks associated with maternal age.
Read, Should I Freeze My Eggs, to learn more about whether or not you’re a candidate for egg freezing.
Considering Egg Freezing?
Here are some facts worth knowing if you’re considering egg freezing or wanting to know more about it.
Your OB/GYN can test your fertility potential
It used to be that only women undergoing infertility testing had their AMH (Anti-müllerian hormone) levels tested. Now, fertility specialists recommend any woman planning to delay pregnancy until their 30s or later should have their levels tested. The test is a good indicator as to whether or not you have ample egg stores, whether you have PCOS (one of the most common causes of female infertility in the U.S.), and other fertility indicators.
You can visit our post about, Testing Your Fertility Potential, to learn more about the benefits of AMH testing for women planning to delay family building.
You don’t need to freeze your eggs when you’re 30
It’s true that freezing eggs can preserve fertility, but there’s no need to rush it. Once eggs are frozen, you pay storage fees, and those add up over the years. Plus, the process to retrieve eggs is costly. Most fertility physicians agree that it’s best to retrieve your eggs somewhere between 33- and 36-years of age.
That way, you save substantially if you surprise yourself and get pregnant “the old fashioned way” – before the 35- or 36-year mark, but also ensures you freeze your eggs before your age risks their viability.
Egg freezing is the first phase of IVF treatment
The process used to retrieve and freeze your eggs is the same process used by women pursuing IVF. It takes place in five stages:
- Meeting with a fertility specialist to discuss your goals and ensure this is the right process for you.
- Self-administer injectable fertility medications to stimulate extra egg follicles to produce release excess, mature eggs.
- Continual monitoring to ensure your body is handling the process well and to verify your eggs are ready
- Self-administer the “trigger” shot to release the mature eggs
- Attend an appointment that requires mild sedation to retrieve the eggs and freeze them.
It’s not something you want to decide on a whim because the entire process has risks and side effects. Only pursue egg freezing if you’re confident you’ll need frozen eggs for IVF in the future.
Your IVF success rates travel with the age of the egg
There’s a reason why women who donate eggs can’t be more than 30 years old (some clinics have their cut-off at 29). Egg viability begins to decline at that point, and they want women who need donor eggs to have the highest fertility rates possible. The same tenet applies to you.
Preserving your eggs at age 33-, 34-, and 35-years old, keeps your future IVF success rates in that age bracket – rather than the age you are when you pursue IVF.
Are you interested in learning more about egg freezing and whether or not it’s a good idea for you? Schedule a consultation here at Women’s Health Associates. We can run through a list of questions and answers with you to see if it makes sense, or if you should hold off for a while. If you decide to freeze your eggs, we’ll refer you to some of the area’s most reputable fertility centers, so you are well taken care of.