If you’re 40 like me then you’ve probably thought about your fertility. The “f” word can get complicated, especially when science comes into the picture. If you’re thinking about having a family, and no not everyone wants kids, then you might be curious about the process of egg freezing. But what does freezing your eggs mean anyways? And, is extending fertility right for you and your partner, if you have one?
To help you decide, let’s break down the info into easy-to-consume bits. Here’s what you need to know:
- It’s not a decision to take lightly
- What does freezing your eggs mean?
- Main reasons why women freeze their eggs
- What egg freezing actually entails; it’s a complex procedure
- Which clinic to use?
Extending Fertility is a Big Decision
Whether now or in the future, the decision to literally bring a live human into the world is not an easy one. And the uncertainty revolving around your fertility is indeed a factor that has a huge role to play. Learning everything there is to learn, including what modern medicine can do, is definitely worth it and it will empower you to make the right decision.
If you want to have more control over your reproductive future or know that you will not be fertile for much longer, then one option is freezing your eggs. This is a huge decision though, so let’s delve deeper into it.
What Does Freezing Your Eggs Mean?
The concept of egg freezing, as it is informally known, or “fertility preservation,” is one of the modern day advancements in medicine. In recent years, there has been a significant growth in the number of women have undergone oocyte cryopreservation, as it is known in medical terms.
So much so that in the tech industry, many employers are even giving it as a benefit to their employee medical insurance packages. And many celebrities who have openly stated that they embrace the practice. Visit this link for more details on the exact statistics, including those that I’ll tell you about below.
Extending Fertility: Why Many Women Freeze Their Eggs
Generally, the purpose of freezing your eggs is to preserve your ability to have kids in the future. While men who are able to produce new sperm about every 70 days, women are born with all the eggs they will ever have in their entire lifetime.
This number is somewhere between approximately 1 to 2 million eggs at birth. By the time a woman is getting her first cycle, the number is down to somewhere between 350,000 and 400,000.
But there doesn’t seem to be an explanation as to why so many eggs are lost, even before you can get pregnant. The reality is that from your first period onwards, females are constantly losing eggs and the egg quality lowers with age.
Before, if a woman was uncertain about her fertility, there was nothing much she could do about it. But with modern science, that’s not the case anymore. There is a chance of extending fertility, an answer to what does freezing your eggs mean.
What Egg Freezing Actually Involves
Starting from stimulation, all the way to egg retrieval, one round of egg freezing is referred to as a cycle. Let’s break down the process:
The doctor performs a vaginal ultrasound. This professional then runs blood tests to help in prescribing the right dosage of the ovarian stimulating medication. These tests also help determine how many eggs are retrievable per cycle, realistically.
Injections and Monitoring
This part of the egg freezing process takes about 10 days. Here, you inject yourself with the drugs daily at the exact same time. For one week it is about twice, then thrice afterwards. These drugs stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs and they also aid in their maturation.
You also need to visit the clinic every 3-4 days for the doctor to keep track of your blood hormone levels. The Dr. will also do a pelvic ultrasound to measure follicle growth or the rate at which the eggs are developing.
Exactly 36 hours before egg retrieval, you give yourself one last “shot.” Doing so accelerates egg maturation so they’re more likely to release at the right time. The procedure is normally conducted under twilight anesthesia, and it is about 20 minutes. Side effects afterwards are cramping, spotting and nausea; they usually last for only a day or so.
After retrieval, the clinic embryologist freezes them for as long as you’d like. Maybe you’re looking at extending fertility by waiting a few years to try for a baby, for example. As from 2008, the preferred egg-freezing method by many is vitrification that makes use of liquid to freeze eggs in 20 minutes.
The entire procedure has so much more than the three steps above. Visit this website for comprehensive information about the success rate for frozen eggs, the period you need to freeze your eggs for, how soon you can start, costs of the procedure, and why the clinic you use matters.
Extending Fertility: Which Clinic to Use?
Egg freezing is fairly high end; a cycle costs about $5000, and you need more than one cycle. Given how big of an investment it is, it is advisable that you are careful on who you choose to partner up with for the procedure.
Choose a clinic that offers comprehensive cryogenic storage. Honestly, maintaining medical-grade freezers of your own is complex, expensive, and also involves many risks. At Solomon Park, for instance, they see to it that your materials are viable right upon receipt to delivery.
Look for a clinic that ensures every aspect of the cryogenic service is on point. For example, ask them if they have proper freezer monitoring procedures and temperatures always at the desired levels. And make sure they talk about things with you rather than talking down to you.
Conclusions on What Does Freezing Your Eggs Mean
Fertility preservation, like any other medical procedure, is not 100% effective. Even though an egg thaws without complications, there is no guarantee that it will fertilize and develop into an embryo. It’s not clear how possible it is for frozen eggs to produce live births as compared to fresh donor eggs.
However, egg freezing is a procedure that is worth doing for many women for the reasons mentioned earlier. It is something to consider, for example, if you do not have that much time on your hands and feel that you’re not ready for pregnancy. Extending fertility might be right for you and your significant other, if you have one. But a lot of factors affect the procedure’s success, so I encourage you to do more research to ensure that you fully understand the process.