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The Benefits & Risks of Freezing Eggs for Fertility Preservation

“I wish someone had told me to freeze my eggs when I was younger”. Fertility doctors hear this lament several times a day from their patients.. Many women have never been told that the quality of their eggs starts to decline around age 34 and then rapidly declines at age 40. However, many women today are simply not ready to have children by their mid-30’s. Women often want more time to build their career or reach other goals in life or may even have a medical reason to delay childbearing. Egg freezing is a technology available to women that allows them to have children when they are ready.

Egg cryopreservation is the process of removing eggs from a woman’s ovaries and then

Freezing Eggs

freezing them for later use. Vitrification is the quick freezing process that is done on the eggs that allows this procedure to work effectively.. When women are ready to use their frozen eggs one day in the future,, the eggs are thawed and inseminated through IVF (in-vitro fertilization). The embryos that are created through this process can be genetically tested through PGT (preimplantation genetic testing) to look for chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders. When a patient has a partner, embryo cryopreservation is also an option for fertility preservation.

Benefits of Freezing Eggs for Fertility Preservation

Egg vitrification began in the late 1990s and was initially used for women with cancer who wanted to freeze their eggs prior to starting chemotherapy. Since then the applications of egg cryopreservation have been extended to women who wish to delay childbearing for other medical or social reasons.

When egg freezing is followed by in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer, there are two main benefits for women: 1) they have a higher chance of conceiving than if they were to try on their own (due to their advanced age or medical condition) and 2) they have a lower risk of having a child with chromosomal abnormalities or genetic disorders by testing the embryos through PGT.

Egg freezing has advantages over embryo freezing for patients who do not have a partner or have moral concerns about the status of a cryopreserved embryo they may not use.

Risks of Freezing Eggs for Fertility Preservation

  • Nothing is Guaranteed