If you are not ready to become pregnant now but want to ensure you can conceive in the future, egg-freezing may be an option for you. As the name may suggest, egg freezing is a fertility preservation technique whereby mature eggs are extracted from the ovaries and frozen for later use. If you have been considering egg freezing and have begun your research, you are probably coming across a lot of information that can be overwhelming. The following are three important facts your New York, NY fertility specialist may discuss with you before egg freezing.
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No age is perfect for egg freezing, but there are better ages
The optimal time to freeze your eggs is in your 20s and early 30s when your ovarian reserve (number of eggs in your ovaries) is higher and healthier. Specialists recommend fertility hormone testing to establish the state of your ovarian reserve and, with your doctor’s input, help decide if egg freezing suits you. Your healthcare provider may caution against egg freezing if you are over 38 years.
Egg freezing doesn’t guarantee fertility
Egg freezing allows you to preserve your eggs for future use, but it is not a surefire way that guarantees you forever fertility. That is because not all frozen eggs will be viable for fertilization and implantation. The number of eggs that survive the thawing or warming process and are eligible for fertilization depends on your age during the egg retrieval period. It also depends on how many eggs are healthy and viable once they come out of storage. Additionally, fertility changes as you age; if you freeze your eggs at 25 and use them at 35, you will have to contend with the realities of conception and pregnancy.
These are not arguments that support or caution against egg freezing – the decision is personal, and your doctor can help decide whether it is right for you. However, it is vital to know going in that it is not a matter of freezing and forgetting.
The egg retrieval process can be intense
Various processes go into egg freezing before you get to the part where the eggs are frozen. First, there is ovarian reserve testing to determine the quality and quantity of your eggs. You’ll have blood drawn to test the concentration of follicle-stimulating hormone and estradiol for this test. Ovarian reserve testing is essential since it helps predict how your ovaries will respond to fertility medication. You may also have another blood test and an ultrasound of your ovaries to get a complete picture of your ovarian function.
Before ovarian stimulation, you will be screened for infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. Next, your doctor prescribes synthetic hormones to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs rather than one egg that develops each month. During this time, your doctor monitors you, and you may have blood tests to measure your response to fertility medications.
There are possible side effects
People respond differently to the egg-freezing process since human bodies are not the same. However, after egg retrieval, typical side effects include cramping, pain, and mood swings. Although rare, some women develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome – this may require hospitalization.
Schedule for consultation with your specialist at Noble Fertility Center to learn more about egg freezing.