Have you recently heard about egg freezing and wondered if it is right for you? Or have you seen a friend attempt to freeze her eggs and now you are curious?
Today, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about egg freezing from what you can expect from the procedure, to how much it costs, and why some women select to do this when it seems like there’s so much else out there for them.
Why do women decide to freeze their eggs?
There are a lot of different reasons why women decide to freeze their eggs.
Some women have found themselves in situations where they can’t start a family, either because they’re not ready or because they don’t have a partner. Other women decide to freeze their eggs because they’re too busy with work and other responsibilities—and they want to be prepared for the future when they might ﬁnally want children.
No matter why you decide to freeze your eggs, it’s important to know that this is not an easy decision and that you shouldn’t take it lightly.
How much does it cost?
The price of egg freezing can vary depending on where you get the procedure done, who performs it, and the type of insurance you have. If you’re paying out-of-pocket, you can expect to pay from $7,000 to $10,000 per cycle. That includes the doctor’s fee, lab fees, medications and injections, as well as monitoring after your retrieval.
If you have insurance coverage for fertility treatment—which is rare—your out-of-pocket costs will be much lower. But even then, your policy might not cover everything.
Are the eggs guaranteed to be high quality?
If you’re freezing your eggs because you’re waiting to meet the right guy, we want to assure you that there are no guarantees of egg quality.
We know that it can be hard to hear that there’s no guarantee for how
high-quality your eggs will be when you thaw them later on, but we want to let you know that this isn’t a bad thing.
How do you know if you’re a good candidate for egg-freezing?
You’re a good candidate for egg freezing if you meet the following criteria:
You’re young, in your 20s or early 30s. The younger you are when you freeze your eggs, the better. Your eggs will likely be more viable than an older woman’s eggs would be.
You have access to good health care and regular checkups with a gynecologist or reproductive endocrinologist (an OB/GYN who specializes in fertility issues). This will help ensure that your reproductive system is healthy, which increases your chances of getting pregnant from frozen eggs later on.
You have a stable career and ﬁnances. This means that you can take time off from work and pay for expensive treatments without going into debt or losing your job.
If you don’t meet these criteria but still want to consider egg-freezing, talk to your doctor about whether it would still be a good idea for you—and what steps could be taken to increase your chances of success if you decide to go ahead with it.
How common is egg freezing, and how successful are the results?
Egg freezing has become increasingly common in recent years, but it’s still not a mainstream option for women. The procedure is expensive, and insurance companies are still reluctant to cover the cost of egg freezing (which can range from $7,000 to $10,000) without a documented medical need.
On top of that, the success rate for frozen eggs has been mixed. In 2014, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that only 4% of frozen eggs were successfully fertilized after being thawed and implanted in patients’ uteruses. Other studies have shown slightly higher rates of success with IVF procedures involving frozen eggs.
What is the procedure like?
The egg freezing procedure is similar to a regular IVF cycle, with a few key differences. There’s no need for your partner to provide sperm.
You’ll undergo an ultrasound and blood test to conﬁrm that your ovaries are healthy.
The next step is to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT). This treatment involves taking synthetic hormones that stimulate the ovaries and induce multiple eggs to mature. You’ll need to inject yourself with a drug called Follistim (a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist) everyday for 10–14 days during the ﬁrst part of your cycle.
Your doctor will monitor your progress by ultrasounding your ovaries every few days and checking your blood levels every two weeks until they’re ready to harvest the eggs.
When the eggs are ready, they’ll be retrieved using a transvaginal ultrasound probe inserted into your vagina through which an endoscope is passed into the fallopian tubes where the eggs are located. The endoscope will remove ﬂuid containing the eggs from their follicles and pass them into syringes attached to its tubing; these syringes are then removed from the body through another small incision in the vaginal wall made with a needleless syringe.
Finally, the retrieved eggs will be frozen in liquid nitrogen, and then stored for future use.
It may sound scary, but it’s really not. The procedure only takes about 15 minutes, and most women feel ﬁne after it’s done.
Can you still get pregnant naturally while your eggs are in storage?
You might be wondering if you can still get pregnant naturally while your eggs are in storage. The answer is yes, you can!
As long as your ovaries are still producing eggs, there’s no reason why you can’t get pregnant naturally. In fact, many women who freeze their eggs actually go on to have a baby naturally.
If you’re considering freezing your eggs for fertility preservation purposes, it’s important to remember that there are other options available to you that won’t involve taking medication or undergoing invasive surgery.
How long can they stay frozen?
The length of time that your eggs can be frozen is dependent on the quality of the eggs when they are initially collected. The better the quality, the longer they will last.
The majority of clinics will freeze your eggs for a maximum of 10 years. However, there have been cases where eggs have been kept frozen for over 20 years with no problems.
You should always check with your clinic as to what their policy is regarding how long they will store your eggs.
What happens if you don’t want to use your frozen eggs later on?
If you don’t want to use your frozen eggs later on, you have a few options.
One is to ask the clinic to destroy them at the end of the preservation process. This means they cannot be used or donated to anyone else.
Another option is to donate them to another woman who has been approved by a fertility clinic as someone who wants to use donor eggs in her IVF cycle.
When this happens, your frozen eggs will be thawed and fertilized with sperm from a donor or with sperm from the recipient’s partner. Another embryo will
be created in this process, which will be transferred into the recipient’s uterus after two or three days of growth in an incubator. The frozen embryo will then continue its development inside the recipient until birth occurs nine months later.
So, are you ready to freeze your eggs? It’s a big step. No matter how you choose to use them, these choices will affect every area of your life, so it’s important to make sure it’s right for you.
But don’t forget that the best way to make sure egg freezing is the right choice is to talk with your doctor ﬁrst. They’ll help you navigate all of the options, and they can help you come to a decision that’s right for you.