Women are increasingly being told “You can have it all,” meaning a career, marriage and children – something their great-grandmothers might not have enjoyed. In reality, though, it can be tough to have all those things at the same time, particularly since the career-building years overlap with child-bearing years. Some women choose to manage that calendar complication with the practice of egg freezing at one of the fertility clinics in New York City. Of course, we hope you’ll choose New York Reproductive Wellness!
Why Egg Freezing?
The practice of egg freezing is one of a number of techniques developed to help promote fertility. It can be used by women who have been diagnosed with cancer during their reproductive years and those who want or need to delay childbearing. Some women have religious or moral objections to storing embryos; egg freezing, however, may be acceptable. If a woman doesn’t have a partner but does expect to marry eventually, she may choose to freeze her eggs while still in her early childbearing years.
How Does Egg Freezing Work?
The concept behind egg freezing is similar to freezing for any purpose – preserving the material being frozen. First the egg must be collected. The woman receives an injection of a hormonal fertility drug that makes her shed several eggs instead of the usual one. The egg is removed from the woman’s body with a needle placed through the vagina, dehydrated with an “anti-freeze” solution to prevent the egg from rupturing, and frozen. Frozen eggs are stored at -196 Celsius. Months or years later, the eggs are thawed, injected with a sperm and allowed to grow for a few days. Then they are transferred to the uterus as embryos.
Will I Get Pregnant?
Of every 10 eggs frozen, data from research and clinic practice indicate about 75 percent will be viable when thawed, and of those, about 75 percent will fertilize and become embryos. In most cases, 10 eggs should be stored for each pregnancy attempt. The earlier the eggs are collected, the better. Egg freezing is typically used in women up to the age of 38; about 75 percent of these women become pregnant. Although older women may be able to freeze their eggs and become pregnant, the chances of a successful pregnancy drop with increasing age.
Studies of babies born from frozen eggs show that freezing doesn’t seem to increase the chance of birth defects. However, this is still a relatively new technology and a small number of babies, so it will be a lifetime before the question of birth defects can be answered completely. The whole process takes a few weeks. Freezing eggs is considered an elective procedure, and some insurance companies will not cover the cost.
New York Reproductive Wellness, a leading fertility clinic in New York City, offers egg freezing as well as many other fertility services. We treat both men and women. Give us a call if you have questions, or to schedule an appointment.