Stopping your Biological Clock, Options for Elective Egg Freezing
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is an infertility treatment that is used to preserve a woman’s reproductive potential. After going through ovarian stimulation to make multiple eggs, the eggs are harvested from your ovaries, frozen unfertilized and stored for later use. These frozen eggs can later be thawed, fertilized with sperm and transferred into your uterus (in vitro fertilization).
Who Is Egg Freezing For?
Egg freezing can be used by anyone who is seeking to preserve eggs to potentially extend their fertility.
It should be offered to all women of reproductive age who are diagnosed with cancer of other serious medical conditions that will require surgery, chemotherapy, and or radiation that can affect your eggs. Chemotherapy and radiation can harm the ovaries resulting in a reduction in your egg number and a decrease in your future fertility.
Egg freezing is also used by women who want to store their eggs at a younger age in hopes of extending their fertility. This is referred to as elective egg freezing or social egg freezing.
Many women postpone childbearing in order to complete their education, advance their career, or find the right partner with whom they want to have children with. As a result, the age of first birth is steadily increasing in the United States and many women are delaying having children into their 30’s or 40’s when they may be less fertile and have higher chances of miscarriages. Freezing their eggs at a younger age may help them control their reproductive future by extending their fertility to a time when they are ready to become a parent.
Does Egg Freezing Work?
In the past egg freezing was considered experimental because the techniques for freezing eggs were less successful than freezing sperm or embryos. In 2012 the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) removed the experimental label as outcome studies showed that the pregnancy rates and health outcomes of the resulting children from in vitro fertilization with frozen eggs was comparable to in vitro fertilization with fresh eggs.
ASRM advises women seeking egg freezing to proceed with caution. A woman’s age at the time of egg freezing is an important consideration and directly impacts the success rates of future IVF cycles using frozen eggs. The overall clinical experience has been that success rates with frozen eggs decline with maternal age as do success rates with fresh eggs.
The experience of IVF clinics with egg freezing varies widely. You should ask about the experience of the clinic with regards to how long they have been doing egg freezing, how many cases have they done, and if they have good fertilization and pregnancy rates.
At TFC you will find an experienced group of board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologists and an outstanding laboratory and embryology team to help with your egg freezing process.