Should I Freeze My Eggs?
December 5, 2016
Egg freezing is a potential solution for a variety of women with a cancer diagnosis or who worry they may not be ready to become mothers before their biological clock starts winding down. Tech companies, like Google and Facebook, have also directed the spotlight at egg freezing since they offer financial support for female employees who want to put their parenting plans on hold while they pursue their career track.
Who Is a Candidate For Egg Freezing?
If you’re considering egg freezing as a potential option, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons with your gynecologist and/or a fertility specialist.
You have a medical condition or require a medical treatment that threatens future fertility
The best candidates for egg freezing are young women who have received a cancer diagnosis – or some other medical diagnosis – that threatens their future fertility. Sometimes fertility is compromised directly by the disease or condition, other times it’s the treatment that causes infertility. In either case, egg freezing allows women the opportunity to preserve their eggs so they can work on healing and treating the disease. Then, later on, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized and transferred into her womb – or the womb of a gestational surrogate – via IVF.
You’re approaching mid-30s and are in love with your career
The biological clock is no joke. While humans continue to live longer, their biological clocks are still ticking to the same tempo. For women, that tick-tocking begins to wind down in the mid-30s and rapidly slows down into the early 40’s. While conditions such as endometriosis and PCOS are the leading causes of medically-related infertility in the U.S., there’s no doubt that “advanced maternal age” is quickly becoming a leading cause of female infertility, resulting in the use of fertility treatments to help older women get pregnant.
By the late-30s, it gets harder and harder for women to have a full-term pregnancy that results in the live birth of a healthy baby. From age 35-years and up, your chances of not getting pregnant, having a miscarriage or having a baby with a chromosomal or genetic abnormality are notably increased. This is because as you age, your eggs are aging too and their viability is compromised. From 40-years old an older, its even difficult for fertility specialists to help women get pregnant using their own eggs.
If you’re in your early 30s and see yourself working – sans kids – for another eight to 10 years or so, egg freezing might be a smart option. That being said, if you are in your mid- to late 30s, freezing your eggs may not be a great idea. At that point, the viability of your eggs may already be compromised and there is no way to test egg viability at this point in time. Thus, you could spend a lot of time an energy freezing eggs that aren’t as likely to produce a healthy baby. You’re better off either getting pregnant before you ideally wanted to, or working with a fertility specialist to select viable embryos if you need IVF in the future.
You haven’t found Mr. or Ms. Right just yet…
Sometimes, it’s not the career track that puts our dreams of children on hold – it’s the lack of your co-parent. If you find yourself in your early 30s and you haven’t found your ideal life mate, you have a couple options; the first is to have faith that you will find Mr./Ms. Right and you’ll become a parent via successful timed intercourse when you both are ready. The second option is that you just go ahead and have a baby on your own via donor sperm and artificial insemination. Your third option is that you use egg freezing to preserve your eggs so you can use them for IVF down the road.
Things to keep in mind regarding egg freezing
Egg freezing is not something that should be taken lightly. For one thing, the process used to retrieve the eggs requires that you use injectable fertility meds, which have their own risks and benefits. The process is expensive. While certain, trendy Fortune 500 and tech companies offer it as a benefit, most individuals have to pay out of pocket (about $10,000 per egg retrieval, not including other, related expenses). You’ll also have to pay a fee to keep them stored each year, which runs about $800. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that your eggs will yield a viable pregnancy.
If you are considering oocyte cryopreservation, look for a clinic that both freezes and thaws their eggs, and who have had reputable success with IVF using frozen eggs in successful IVF treatments.
Do you have questions about your future fertility? Are you considering the use of egg freezing or other fertility treatments? Contact us here at Women’s Health Associates to schedule a consultation.
Image courtesy of Maxim Weise at FreeDigitalPhotos.net