Egg freezing is a procedure chosen by women who want to wait to delay childbearing that involves "freezing" her eggs until she is ready to have children. This egg-freezing process (vitrification) is a type of rapid freezing technique capable of preserving eggs without harming them. Following freezing of eggs in special solutions containing medical-grade anti-freeze, eggs are then stored in cryogenic freezers until they are removed, thawed and fertilized using in vitro fertilization with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Traditional IVF cannot be used due to the freezing process hardening the outer membrane of stored eggs.
Six Things to Know About Egg Freezing
1. Egg Retrieval
Prior to your fertility doctor retrieving and freezing eggs, you will need to undergo hormone injections for about 10 days to stimulate ovaries and mature multiple eggs. Your doctor can show you how to give yourself these injections at home so you do not need to visit the office every day. Retrieval of eggs is done by placing a hollow needle through your vagina. You are given sedation anesthesia during the procedure so you won’t feel any discomfort.
2. Side Effects of Hormone Injections
Some women experience mood swings, breast tenderness, insomnia and headaches while giving themselves hormone injections. However, these symptoms will go away as soon as the injections are stopped.
3. Freezing Eggs
You can freeze your eggs for as long as 10 years without interfering with the quality and viability of your eggs. However, the older a woman is at the time she freezes her eggs may impact her ability to conceive when she chooses to become pregnant.
4. Cost of Egg Freezing
As one of the newer assisted reproductive technologies, egg freezing is more expensive than other ARTs because of expenditures involving freezing and storage of eggs. Your fertility doctor can discuss the final costs of egg freezing with you to help you decide if this ART best suits your needs.
5. Egg Freezing and Pregnancy
Like all other ARTs, egg freezing does not guarantee you will achieve pregnancy when you are ready. The younger you are when you have your eggs frozen and thawed, the better chance you have of getting pregnant. Other factors may also influence your chance of becoming pregnant when you chose to thaw your eggs, which your doctor will discuss with you during your initial consultation.
6. Unused Eggs
Women who have their eggs frozen but decide not to use them can have them discarded or donated to scientific research laboratories.
If you are interested in having your eggs frozen, call New York Reproductive Wellness today at (516) 612-8466 to schedule a consultation appointment.