Egg freezing is a process in which a woman’s eggs are harvested from her ovaries and frozen (in a process called oocyte vitrification), and stored in a liquid nitrogen chamber until the woman would like to achieve a pregnancy. A woman’s ability to conceive declines with age but egg freezing is an effective method for preserving or extending her reproductive potential.
The process takes about 9-11 days of ovarian stimulation with fertility medications followed by the egg retrieval procedure 2 days later. Patients can go on with their routine schedules over this 11-13 day process and only need to take the day of retrieval off of work.
Should you freeze your eggs?
There are many reasons why women delay childbearing. Women opt to freeze their eggs for several reasons:
- They may not have found their life partner
- To delay starting a family
- To preserve their fertility before beginning cancer surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
- To avoid the creation and freezing of extra embryos after an IVF cycle.
Life circumstances may also influence your decision to freeze your eggs. For some women, knowing they have preserved eggs brings them peace of mind in a time of life that may not be the ideal time to become pregnant. Many women with demanding careers or the inflexibility of academic calendars may wish to delay family building. Here are a few guidelines to help you determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for egg freezing:
- You are in your 20s to mid-30s. (Women over the age of 37 may consider egg freezing on a case-by-case basis).
- You would like to start a family, but aren’t quite ready and would like to preserve your ability to have children later.
Women may also choose to freeze their eggs if they have a medical condition (malignancy) that could potentially harm their fertility. Here are some reasons in which egg freezing would be a viable option for preserving a woman’s ability to have a baby:
- You are newly diagnosed with a cancer, which may threaten your fertility.
- Your planned medical treatments involve chemicals that have been linked to infertility.
- You’ve been diagnosed with early ovarian insufficiency.
When should you freeze your eggs?
When it comes to your egg supply, age is a factor, since the quality and quantity of eggs rapidly deteriorate after age 35. Egg freezing allows you to preserve the optimal years of your fertility when you’re ready to conceive later in life.
As a woman, you are born with all the eggs you will ever have. With time, your eggs decrease in both numbers and cellular integrity. This decline is in large part why women in their 40s have only about a five percent chance of becoming pregnant each month. So, to answer the question, 'at what age should I freeze my eggs?' the simple answer is: Freeze your eggs in your prime reproductive years of your 20s and early 30s. This allows you to take advantage of premium egg quality and quantity.
If you know you want to start a family someday, but the time isn’t ideal for you right now, contact Reproductive Gynecology & Infertility to explore your options. In addition to providing expert IVF treatments and other solutions for infertility in Columbus, we also offer egg freezing in Columbus, Youngstown, Akron and Canton, Ohio. We will present the facts about egg freezing—how it works, the limitations and the likelihood of a successful outcome.
What You Need To Know About Egg Freezing
In 2018, the New York Times reported more than 20,000 American women elected to freeze their eggs. This number has risen sharply since 2009, when there were only 475 women freezing their eggs. The process of egg freezing involves stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple eggs. Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved from the ovaries, taken to the lab and cooled to sub-zero temperatures. Frozen eggs can be stored for over 10 years, until you’re ready to start a family.
What's the process of egg freezing?
If you’re considering cryopreservation, or egg freezing, here are a few things you need to know:
- The timing – Generally, fertility begins to decline in your late 20s or early 30s and falls more rapidly after the age of 35. Consider freezing your eggs sooner rather than later, to ensure you are giving your future self the best chance at having a baby.
- The process – Egg freezing typically involves 8-11 days of hormone injections to stimulate your ovaries, 5-7 doctor appointments, blood draws and transvaginal ultrasound exams.
- The medications – The specialized hormone medications will not be available at your local pharmacy. Instead, your reproductive endocrinologist will recommend a pharmacy that specializes in medications for egg freezing and other fertility treatments.
- The procedure – Once your eggs are mature, you will be placed under mild anesthesia so your physician can retrieve them during a brief 10-15 minute surgical procedure. Using ultrasound guidance, a needle is inserted through the vaginal wall into each ovary. The needle is attached to a catheter that’s connected to a test tube.
- The egg freezing – Once the eggs are successfully retrieved, your physician will hand them over to a skilled embryologist who, using a fast-freezing method called vitrification, will transform the eggs into a glass-like frozen state and store them in a liquid nitrogen storage chamber until they’re needed.
What's the egg freezing timeline?
The he basic steps and how it works.
- Consultation (~1 hour): Discuss patient's medical history and ask questions.
- Testing (~30 minutes): Undergo ultrasound and lab tests.
- Reviewing Results (~30 minutes): Treatment team goes over the results with you.
- Medication and Monitoring (10-12 days): Receive fertility shots and regular monitoring.
- Egg Retrieval (~1 hour): Anesthesia is administered, and eggs are retrieved for freezing.
- Recovery (4-5 days): Take time to recover from any discomfort or bloating.
- After retrieving the eggs, patients can consult their physician regarding additional egg-freezing cycles. Once the eggs are frozen, patients have the freedom to plan their family according to their own timeline and can return for an IVF cycle when they are ready.
Start Your Family When You’re Ready With Egg Freezing In Columbus
We are proud to say that Reproductive Gynecology & Infertility has achieved successes where others have not. From egg freezing to IVF and more, we provide individual infertility solutions with the utmost compassion, convenience and commitment.
If you are interested in egg freezing in Ohio, contact the fertility specialists at Reproductive Gynecology & Infertility. We are ready to help you build your family. Call 866-537-2461 to schedule your appointment today.