Should I Freeze My Eggs to Preserve My Fertility?

Should I Freeze My Eggs to Preserve My Fertility

When is the right time to have a baby?

You are a woman in your mid-20’s and you just finished post-graduate school and you are excited about establishing your dream career. You also have plans to do a fair amount of traveling, as there are so many places in Europe you can’t wait to see! Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

You also enjoy having the opportunity to sleep in on weekend mornings after working so hard during the week. You want to go out during the evenings you don’t have work to do and enjoy going to the bar with your girlfriends whenever you please.

In a nutshell, you want to enjoy your life, while you are establishing your career at the same time.

women in mid-20's love to enjoy life

Additionally, you are not even close to being in a serious relationship, where you are wanting to settle down. You really want to take this time in your life to enjoy your freedom. At the same token, you do want to settle down, get married and have kids…. one day!

What does ‘one day’ even mean?

Do you plan to get to that stage in a decade from now? Or even later than that?

You may even be aware that once you are looking to settle down, you will likely end up having to find different men in order to connect with the ‘right’ one that you see yourself spending the rest of your life with! That said, you have no idea how long you will be playing the dating game until you find Mr. Right.

 

Waiting to Settle Down

The fact that you want to enjoy your life right now and yet at the same time you do want to settle down, get married and have kids causes you to fall into the same category as many other women in your position- they want to use the time in their 20’s to enjoy life and establish their career and plan to delay getting married and having kids, or even if they don’t want to get married at all and want to use a donor sperm to have a child in their mid to late 30’s.

Women in this position also realize that the longer they want to have kids, the riskier it is. They know that getting pregnant will be harder to achieve in their 30’s than it would be in their 20’s. Additionally, the risk of experiencing a miscarriage is higher for women conceiving in their 30’s than it is in their 20’s.

age and fertility

And there is a higher chance that they could end up having a child with birth defects or disabilities like Down’ Syndrome if they wait a long time to have kids. This is a tough situation.

However, because of the fact that there are so many women who are in your position, there is a solution!

 

There is a Solution – Egg Freezing!

Many women who want to enjoy their 20’s and build their careers up during that time but want to experience motherhood later without having to worry about the risk associated with delaying their pregnancies, they look into having their eggs frozen for this reason.

They look into having their eggs frozen while they know they are not at all ready to become moms but know that they are at the best age when it comes to providing healthy eggs.

This way, if they don’t settle down or decide to have kids until they are in their mid to late 30’s, they don’t need to worry about not being able to conceive or having to worry about poor egg quality that could mean they would miscarry if they got pregnant, or end up with a child with Down’s Syndrome.

Downs Syndrome

The same applies to women who are diagnosed with cancer since unfortunately, many cancer treatments can kill fertility. Women in this position look into having their eggs frozen before they start treatment so they have a chance at having kids when they are healthy and in remission.

 

How Does Egg Freezing Work?

If you are making the decision to have your eggs frozen, you will end up having to take hormonal injections, the same way a woman undergoing in vitro fertilization would in order to cause multiple eggs to grow and mature. It takes about three weeks to go through the process.

Step 1 – The first step involves having to take one to two weeks of birth control pills in order to turn off natural hormones, however, if the reason for having your eggs frozen is due to receiving a cancer diagnosis- this part can be skipped.

Step 2 – After that, you have to take hormone injections or fertility drugs for about 10 days in order to stimulate your ovaries so that multiple eggs are ripened. You will be monitored closely via blood work and ultrasound to measure how close you are to the day when your eggs will be retrieved.

Step 3 – Once the eggs have been matured adequately, you will be taken to a room where your eggs will be removed by a needle that will go past your cervix while it is being guided through an ultrasound to make sure the needle is going to the right place in order to remove the eggs. You will be sedated while this is happening and then once the eggs are taken out, they will be frozen right away.

Step 4 – You will likely be monitored at the clinic for one to two hours after the sedation wears off before you go back home. You may also be given antibiotics to prevent any possible infection as well as pain medication just in case you experience pain later in the day. However, it is less likely that either scenario happens than it does.

 

How Does the Clinic Freeze Your Eggs?

You probably also have heard that sperm and embryos are easy to freeze, but when it comes to freezing eggs, extra steps need to be taken to make sure the eggs are frozen properly and not destroyed in the process.

Because the egg is the largest cell in the body, it contains a lot of water. Therefore, if it is frozen without the proper steps taken, the water in the eggs will turn into ice crystals which will destroy the eggs.

Therefore, before the eggs are frozen they have to be first dehydrated by replacing the water with an anti-freeze substance.

At the same time, when the woman is ready to have kids after her eggs have been frozen for a number of years, the only way fertilization can happen with frozen eggs is through a process when each sperm is injected into the egg with a needle which is called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI.

How Does the Clinic Freeze Your Eggs

That is because the frozen egg ends up hardening and that is the only way fertilization can happen.

Therefore, eggs are frozen by a slow-freeze method or a flash-freezing process which is also known as vitrification. You may think of ceramics when you think of vitrification. That is because the process is the same as transforming the egg into a non-crystalline amorphous solid, and you can even think of glass.

Therefore, whenever you are looking into a clinic that offers egg freezing, you will want to find out if they use the slow-freeze method or if they use vitrification.

As long as they have a good reputation and have had given many women who have frozen their eggs success stories, then chances are it is a good quality clinic that knows what they are doing.

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How Long Can The Eggs Stay Frozen?

Eggs are frozen the same way embryos are, and can even be frozen for 10 years since embryos have been frozen for that long successfully thus far. Long-term storage will not ruin the quality of the eggs and this is something that reputable clinics that offer this for women who want to or need to delay motherhood want to stress.

 

How Many Eggs Should Be Stored To Achieve a Pregnancy?

One study conducted found that egg thaw rates of 75% and fertilization rates of 75% are expected to happen in women up to 38 years of age and that can be translated as for every 10 eggs frozen, 7 are expected to survive and thaw properly.

How Many Eggs Should Be Stored To Achieve a Pregnancy

And then 5 or 6 of those eggs are expected to be fertilized and become embryos. That said, about 3 or 4 embryos are transferred to women that are up to 38 years old.

Women under 38 can easily produce 10 to 20 eggs for each cycle.

 

How Late Should You Wait To Freeze Eggs?

Because of the concerns about how long the eggs will stay well frozen is a worry. Experience has shown that frozen eggs can last for 10 years and turn out just fine. But still…

However, if you plan to freeze your eggs and you are worried about the timing of when you are ready to have them fertilized, you can wait to have your eggs frozen in your late 20’s or even early 30’s without there being any issues.

In fact, many women have waited until they were 38 to have their eggs frozen!

However, bear in mind that if you wait until you are 38 to freeze your eggs, you will not be as likely to use as many of them as you would if you were to freeze your eggs at 28.

How Late Should You Wait To Freeze Eggs?

There have been even instances when women at 40 were able to successfully freeze their eggs, usually in cases where these women were diagnosed with cancer and wanted to have another child after treatment was done, and were successful with it. However, that is the exception and not the rule.

Because the main purpose of egg freezing is to have them frozen at a young age so you could use them to have kids regardless of how old you are- when you are younger, the success rates of having your eggs frozen will be higher.

 

Are The Chances of Birth Defects Higher?

Based on all of the studies conducted, there are no signs and there is no evidence that birth defects happen more often in babies that were born by this method than they would be through other ways of conception.

 

What Are The Costs?

The costs for egg freezing are pretty much the same as it would be for IVF, so it would be around $10,000 to go through an egg freezing cycle which will involve the drugs, the monitoring and the procedure itself. And it will cost an additional $5000 for egg thawing, fertilization, and embryo transfer. There are many clinics that will offer a discount for additional cycles of egg freezing beyond the first.

What Are The Costs of egg freezing

 

Does Insurance Cover Egg Freezing?

And some insurance companies will cover some aspects of the egg freezing costs, and more and more companies are being pushed into covering this procedure in order to help keep their employees that want to have this procedure done since it is a very expensive procedure.

However, there are ways to come up with the money as far as taking out a loan, or you can create a GoFundMe campaign, you can even dip into your retirement savings for this but you will have to pay a penalty for this, or you may be fortunate to be in a position where family can help you out financially.

 

The Bottom Line

Either way, if you are set on doing this because you want to enjoy your life in your 20’s while you are building your career and yourself up before becoming committed to parenthood- which you want to experience too, you will find a way to make it work.

More and more women are going this route and as a result, egg freezing will become just as mainstream as IVF, and with constant medical improvements happening more and more- success rates for egg freezing will likely even become better.

Therefore, since you already know this is an option without having to feel pressured into giving up your life or your career so you can be young enough to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies,you should find a way to come up with the money and find out what your insurance plans will cover, do your research to find reputable clinics that will freeze eggs, and take action. Good luck!

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Alyssia Granger
Alyssia Granger | ConceiveEasy
Alyssia is mom to 2. She's a Southern girl, passionate about photography, travel and her husband Josh.