Egg freezing, also known as fertility preservation or oocyte cryopreservation, is used to help women ensure their future families. There are many reasons why a woman may choose to freeze her eggs so she can have a child when she is ready, some of which include women who:
- Want to delay having a family due to career or personal goals
- Have not yet found the right partner with whom to have a family
- Are concerned about their age affecting the health and quantity of their eggs
- Have recently been diagnosed with cancer (chemotherapy and radiation treatments can potentially harm a person’s fertility)However, fertility preservation is not just for women – men who face the same situations (age, career or cancer issues) can also choose to freeze their sperm so they are able to have a family when they wish to do so.
How does egg freezing/fertility preservation work?
After a consultation with your fertility specialist, you will undergo routine testing in order to determine if you are a good candidate for fertility preservation. Women, in the weeks prior to the egg retrieval procedure, will take medication (injections) in order to promote egg growth so eggs will be ready for retrieval. The goal of the egg retrieval procedure is to collect and freeze about 15 eggs in order to have a successful chance of conception during IVF (when the decision to have a child is made).
During the actual freezing of the eggs, Fertility Solutions uses a process called “vitrification” (flash freezing) in order to allow for a high success rate when compared to the traditional slow-freeze method. During vitrification, your eggs are quickly frozen before ice crystals, which could ruin cell structure, are able to form.
At what age should I freeze my eggs?
The decision whether to freeze your eggs is entirely up to you. More and more women are taking control of their future fertility and having their eggs frozen in their mid- to late twenties. However, if you are facing a recent cancer diagnosis in your mid-twenties or younger, it’s important to talk to your doctor, who may recommend a consultation with a fertility specialist.
Also, patients should note that choosing to freeze eggs does not mean that you will “run out” of eggs. Egg freezing is simply the use of eggs that women would have otherwise lost as they aged.
Why is egg freezing gaining in popularity?
In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) stopped labeling egg freezing as experimental, allowing for widespread use of the process. Since this decision, women are able to make choices about their reproductive futures that were previously hindered by time and age. There is an ever increasing interest in egg freezing as the subject becomes a part of a more mainstream discussion on fertility. This is especially true since many women are brought up hearing over and over that their “biological clock is ticking” and that they need to settle down and start a family as soon as possible.
I’m interested in egg freezing – how do I start?
The first step is to schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist. Your fertility specialist will help answer any questions you may have about the egg freezing process, costs involved and the fertility services that are needed when you decide to use your frozen eggs to start your family.