Egg freezing involves retrieving eggs from the woman’s ovaries and freezing them for future use. The eggs are retrieved similarly to in-vitro fertilization, only that they are not fertilized but banked to fertilize them in the future when the lady decides to have kids.
It is a viable option for women who want to delay pregnancy due to career options, wait for the right partner to have kids with, or simply wait for the right time to conceive. Since fertility declines with age, egg freezing offers a better chance for a healthy embryo when you do it at a younger age. Here are several things to know before freezing your eggs.
It is not a guarantee for fertility.
While freezing your eggs takes off the stress in terms of your conception timeline, it is not a guarantee for fertility. First of all, not all the eggs you freeze may be viable to produce a healthy embryo. Again the number of eggs that survive the thawing process during conception depends on how old you were when they were retrieved and frozen and how healthy they are once they are out of storage.
Moreover, fertility changes with age, so when you freeze your eggs at 25years and wait to use them for 35years, you still have to deal with the realities of conception and pregnancy at a later age.
There is no ideal age to freeze your eggs, but there are better ages.
Luckily you can freeze your eggs at any age, so there is no perfect age. However, there are better ages because fertility declines with age. You have a better chance of a healthy embryo when you freeze your eggs at a younger age, probably in your early 20s and 30s. You also have a higher ovarian reserve at a younger age, which means you can retrieve more eggs at one cycle. Egg freezing is not advisable for women over the age of 38years.
The egg harvesting process can be intense
A lot goes into egg freezing even before you get to the part where your eggs are ready to be banked. First, the fertility specialist performs ultrasound or draws blood, tests your ovarian reserve, and screens for infectious diseases. After that, you have to take hormonal medications to boost your ovulation before egg harvesting.
You also have to undergo injectables to help with egg maturation. When the eggs mature, they are extracted and flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen as a part of vitrification. This process may not be easy, so you should be ready for it.
Egg freezing is an ideal option if you have certain health conditions.
Egg freezing is ideal for preserving your fertility if you have certain health conditions like cancer or undergoing treatments like chemotherapy that may interfere with your fertility. Also, you may be undergoing surgery with the potential to damage your ovaries, or you learn that you have a family history of early menopause or a genetic mutation that predisposes you to cancer. In such cases, egg freezing is advisable.
There are no arguments for and against egg freezing, and only you and your doctor can determine if it is the right decision.