Egg Freezing 101
Women are talking about elective egg freezing. Perhaps you’ve heard about it in the news or had a friend share her experience with you. Maybe a recent birthday has you thinking about time and ways to plan for the future. Whatever prompted the thought, there’s never been a better time to learn about the process and figure out if freezing your eggs is the right thing for you.
At Audubon, we encourage you to take an active role in your fertility and empower you to do so. We want you to be educated about your reproductive health so you can make an informed choice.
Why would anyone freeze their eggs?
Egg freezing allows patients to preserve the reproductive potential they have right now for future use. A woman’s fertility is directly related to her egg or oocyte quantity and quality and these parameters are a function of age. In fact, age is the single most important prognostic factor when counseling women about their fertility. If you are open to building your family in the future but aren’t ready to be pregnant right now, you should consider egg freezing. Ideally this process should start before your egg number and quality decline. Additionally, you may have coverage through your insurance to pursue this process.
What’s involved in the egg freezing process?
At your initial visit, our providers will explain the process to you in detail and check bloodwork to assess your current reproductive potential or ovarian reserve. If you are ready, we perform an ultrasound to show you what your egg reserve looks like and explain your chance of success with egg freezing. The entire process takes about 2 weeks start to finish. This includes taking prescribed medications and visiting your doctor’s office to monitor your progress. Once your eggs are ready, you’ll have your egg retrieval, a 15-minute procedure done under light anesthesia. The eggs retrieved will be frozen on the same day and stored until you’re ready to use them – whether that’s months or years down the road.
Does egg freezing work? Is it safe?
It’s one thing to freeze your eggs, but will the eggs be healthy when it comes time to use them? Our lab offers egg vitrification or rapid freezing which improves retention when warming eggs. On average, rate of egg survival is 85% and even better (95%) for women who freeze their eggs younger than age 35 years. Additionally, multiple studies have examined downstream health outcomes in patients who have completed this process and there is little to no risk to your health. The risk of genetic problems in embryos created from frozen eggs is also not increased over eggs that had not been frozen.