Three years after businesswoman Sarah Evans and her husband got married, they found their lives to be extremely busy in their respective careers. They were not ready to start a family yet, so Sarah decided to opt for egg freezing.
The quality of a woman’s eggs deteriorates as she ages and it is one of the major reasons for failure of infertility treatments later. Today, thousands of women like Sarah are opting to store their good quality eggs earlier in life, so they do not have to worry about becoming a mother, later.
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is the process of extracting, freezing and preserving a woman’s eggs (oocytes) as a method of maintaining their reproductive potential in later age.
The proverbial biological clock is driving women to fertility clinics in hopes of preserving their fertility, and perhaps buying some peace of mind.
More and more women are exploring this option of egg freezing and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine no longer considers it an experimental procedure.
Why should I consider egg freezing?
The benefits of egg freezing are notable if you can identify with any of the following:
- You want or need to delay childbearing to pursue educational, professional or personal goals
If you are overly busy with your career or have some personal goals to achieve before you decide to start a family, you may consider egg freezing at an early reproductive stage.
That way you could go about fulfilling your professional or personal desires without having to constantly worry about your reproductive ability.
- You were diagnosed with cancer
Cancer therapy is known to render many people infertile. Doctors suggest semen freezing for men and egg freezing for women before chemo or radiotherapy.
- You have a family history of fertility problems
If you have a family history of early menopause, premature ovarian failure, fibroids, or some other fertility problems, egg freezing at a younger age may be very helpful
- You are averse to freezing of embryos
Some cultures raise moral and ethical objections to freezing of the extra embryos in an IVF cycle, so they just have to be discarded.
If that is your case, maybe you can ask the doctor to use only 3-4 eggs for the IVF procedure and freeze the rest of them. If your IVF fails, you do not have to undergo injections or the egg retrieval procedure again.
- You haven’t found ‘the one’
In case you feel age is passing you by, as you continue to search for that perfect life partner, freezing of your eggs could help ease your anxiety.
When should I freeze my eggs?
The best time to freeze your eggs is in your 20s or early 30s—when you are in the prime of your reproductive capacity.
At this age the best quality and quantity of eggs can be retrieved.
How does egg freezing work?
The steps for egg freezing are as follows:
STEP 1 – Ovarian reserve estimation
The doctor will first assess your ovarian reserve to estimate the potential yield of eggs. For this, some blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound will be performed.
STEP 2 – Stimulation
Ovarian stimulation in then performed with about 15 days of hormone injections, as in IVF
STEP 3 – Egg retrieval
Under sedation, eggs will be carefully aspirated vaginally.
STEP 4 – Assessment
The eggs are checked for how mature they are, under a microscope and the good ones are selected for freezing
STEP 5 – Vitrification
Eggs are very quickly cooled with liquid nitrogen, which fixes them in the same state for use any time later.
How long the eggs can remain frozen?
Right now, there is no higher limit to the number of years that your eggs can be kept frozen.
Earlier this year, this Dubai woman had a baby at the age of 24, after freezing her ovaries at the age of 9, when she had to undergo cancer therapy.
Many doctors I have spoken to, have confirmed that long-term freezing does not cause any damage or compromise the quality of eggs to conceive.
Most clinics charge annually for egg storage, so if you store them for a longer duration, you will have to pay higher.
What is the cost of egg freezing?
Egg freezing costs starts from $1250 at some clinics in India. In Thailand it would cost you about $3500.
The costs essentially depend upon the number of injections required and the cost of egg retrieval at the said clinic.
To know the specific cost of egg freezing in your case, you can write to us using the form on the right
Is egg freezing safe?
The risks of egg freezing are mostly associated with ovarian stimulation, which include:
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
The risks are small and rare but you have to be prepared in case.
A study of over 900 babies from frozen eggs found there was no increase in rate of birth defects because of egg freezing.
No increase in chromosomal defects or pregnancy complications was found in embryos with frozen eggs, according to two different studies.
Where can I get my eggs frozen?
Clinics all over the world are offering egg freezing facilities now. If you need to get affordable egg freezing in India or Thailand, at a reliable clinic, write to us with your preferred destination and we’ll connect you with our trusted clinic there.
Success rates of IVF with frozen eggs
Several fertility specialists have told us that they get better results in IVF cycles with frozen eggs and frozen embryos because they can have full control over the lining.
The success rates at some of the clinics are reported to be upto 70% with FET.
To know your specific chances of conceiving with frozen eggs till a certain age, ask the doctor before you plan to freeze your eggs.
How will the frozen eggs be used in the Future?
When you are ready to use your frozen eggs for pregnancy, the frozen eggs are thawed—they are placed in a warming solution and assessed for quality.
The best ones are then fertilized using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to form an embryo.
These embryos will be cultured for 3-5 days until they are ready to be transferred into the uterus to achieve pregnancy.
Benefits of egg freezing
- It allows you to pursue personal and professional goals without having to risk motherhood
- It allows you to marry when you find the right person, instead of rushing into it because of age related infertility
- It provides you peace of mind. Many women have said that after freezing their eggs they felt as if a weight was lifted off even though they were aware they may never use their frozen eggs.
- You can hope to have a baby even if you have a family history of fertility problems
- You can go into cancer treatment without worrying about infertility
The procedure has become so popular that since 2015 tech-giants like Apple and Facebook have started offering egg freezing benefits for their female employees.
Egg freezing in the US can cost upto $12,000 per cycle and additional $5,000 per year to keep them in frozen storage.
So these big companies offer up to $20,000 for female employees, who want to delay their family plans in favor of advancing their careers.
Women who do not have these Silicon Valley benefits can consider traveling for egg freezing in Thailand or India, where it costs much less and can be done in complete privacy, during a beach vacation.