Egg Freezing 101: Should I Freeze My Eggs?
Just because you’re not ready to have children now doesn’t mean you should give up your chance. In fact, many women prefer to start families when they’re older, and finances, relationships, and careers are more solid. Other women wait to have children because of health concerns. If you’re facing any of these situations, egg freezing could be for you. By freezing your eggs, you have a good chance of extending your childbearing years, so when you’re ready to become a parent, your body will be too.
What is Egg Freezing?
Also known by its scientific name, Oocyte Cryopreservation, egg freezing is a medical process that involves removing, freezing, thawing, and fertilizing a woman’s eggs. It’s a common, minimally invasive procedure that is not painful and is completed relatively quickly.
How Does it Work?
At Red Rock Fertility, we firmly believe in partnership, that you and your doctor should work together to help you achieve your dreams of having children. This is why the egg freezing process begins with a consultation at our facility. Our doctors and staff will sit down with you to discuss the egg freezing process and whether you’re a good candidate.
If you and your doctor feel that egg freezing is the right step, you’ll undergo eight to 10 days of hormone treatments to increase your egg production. Then, your doctor will extract the eggs in a simple, low-risk, outpatient procedure that can be performed in the office.
After the eggs are extracted, your doctor will freeze and store them for up to 12 years. When you’re ready to become pregnant, your eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and implanted using in vitro fertilization.
See our infographic below to see the steps to egg freezing, and continue reading to learn more about how successful the egg freezing process is, the cost of freezing your eggs, and more.
What Are the Steps to Egg Freezing?
- Blood is drawn to evaluate ovarian reserve and screen for infectious diseases, and an ultrasound is used to observe ovarian function
- Synthetic hormones are prescribed to stimulate ovarian follicle growth in your ovaries, along with medication to prevent ovulation prior to egg retrieval
- An ultrasound is performed to confirm follicles are ready for egg retrieval
- You give yourself an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin to help eggs mature
- A fertility doctor retrieves the eggs via a transvaginal ultrasound aspiration to locate mature follicles, where an ultrasound probe is inserted to locate mature follicles
- A needle is inserted to the ovaries, then suction is applied to remove eggs one-by-one
- Eggs are cooled via a process called vitrification, where eggs are flash frozen in liquid nitrogen
- Eggs are stored in a frozen state until ready to thaw and use
How Successful is Egg Freezing?
According to ASRM, egg freezing typically works best for women in their 20s and 30s and is not recommended for women over 38. Waiting until your late 30s or early 40s isn’t ideal as the quality of your eggs and changes of retrieving a successful egg are are higher when you are younger.
That being said, the success rate of egg freezing is not yet backed by data. Many people who have frozen their eggs have not yet had them thawed, so success rate has not been recorded. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) have yet to find a way to properly track the procedure’s success rate. Though some clinics have achieved birth rates of 40 to 50 percent per egg thaw, sample sizes are small.
Some studies show that the freezing process impacts survival rates. Vitrification by liquid nitrogen dramatically increases the survival rate of eggs versus older technology, called “slow freezing.” Eggs frozen via vitrification had a 91% survival rate, versus eggs that are frozen slowly, which had a 61% survival rate.
How Much Does it Cost to Freeze Eggs?
In general, insurance coverage for freezing your eggs varies by patient and by provider, though some providers may help foot the bill for medication. While costs vary by patient and clinic, out-of-pocket expenses run around $15,000 to $20,000 per freezing cycle, which includes an average of $11,000 in treatment, $5,000 in medication, and $2,000 in storage according to FertilityIQ. Depending on a woman’s age and the quality of her eggs, more cycles may be needed to retrieve the recommended 10 to 30 eggs. On average, a woman undergoes 2.1 egg freezing cycles.
Should I Freeze My Eggs?
At Red Rock Fertility, we believe that every person who dreams of becoming a loving parent should have the opportunity to do so. Thanks to egg freezing, we can help you increase the odds of having a successful pregnancy later in life. Whether you’re waiting to become pregnant for medical, personal, or career-related reasons, we’re here to help you with exceptional medical care and emotional support. If you feel like egg freezing is the right path for you, or if you have more questions on the process, schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist to take the next steps toward growing your family.