What Is Egg Freezing, And Does It Work?
Egg freezing is one of several available options for fertility preservation. For a long time, egg freezing was mostly recommended for women with recent cancer diagnoses, as a way of saving their healthy eggs before undergoing cancer treatments that can affect fertility. In 2012, the US determined that egg freezing was no longer “experimental,” and it became more popular as an elective procedure for women who wanted to have children later in life, for non-medical reasons. Egg freezing technology continues to become more and more efficient and effective, and babies born from frozen eggs or embryos are just as healthy as those from fresh eggs. Here at Pacific NW Fertility, we have been successfully freezing, thawing, and fertilizing eggs for many years, and with over 300 live births from eggs frozen at our clinic, we continue to be leaders in the field.
There are three major factors to look at when considering if egg freezing is right for you: Time, Health, and Cost.
There are two big “whens” involved with egg freezing: When will your eggs be frozen, and when do you want to have kids?
Since the goal of freezing your eggs is to preserve healthy and viable eggs for later use, when you freeze them is very important. Egg quality decreases through a woman’s early 30s, but drops more significantly after 35. By 40, more than half of women need help conceiving. For those reasons, it’s generally recommended to consider freezing your eggs before your mid 30s. Women over 35 are still candidates for fertility preservation, but it’s important to understand how the quality and quantity of eggs decrease with age, and this significantly impacts success rates.
With that in mind, it might seem like all women should be freezing their eggs at 22, just to get the highest quality! This is where the second “when” comes in: when do you want to have children? If you are in your early 20s and plan to have kids before you turn 35, you have a high chance of not needing to freeze your eggs. On the other hand, if you’re 32, want kids, but don’t want them just yet, egg freezing may offer you more freedom to live your life without worrying as much about your biological clock.
As with any conversation about fertility, your health in general and your reproductive health specifically are very important for any treatment decisions. Some health factors to consider when thinking about egg freezing include
Do you have any diagnosed conditions that can impact fertility, like endometriosis?
Does your family have any history of early menopause or ovarian deficiency?
Have you recently been diagnosed with cancer, or do you have any other health issues that could affect your fertility?
If so, egg freezing may be a good way to preserve your fertility options in the future. Don’t hesitate to meet with a reproductive endocrinologist to get your specific questions answered, and so they can help create a fertility plan that is tailored to your individual needs and goals.
The process of freezing your eggs is basically the same as the first steps of IVF, and like IVF, it is often an out of pocket expense and therefore can be a significant financial investment. Insurance rarely covers fertility preservation, but it is becoming more common to have coverage. Costs include the medications leading up to the procedure and the egg retrieval procedure itself, as well as storage costs for your frozen eggs until you are ready to use them – and then, of course, there are the costs of the actual IVF procedure to fertilize and implant your thawed eggs when you are ready to use them.
While the money side of fertility can seem overwhelming, Pacific NW Fertility has a team of dedicated and passionate financial counselors to provide resources to assist with the financial investment and help you create a plan that works for you.
If you’re considering your fertility future, the first step is to meet with one of our highly trained and compassionate physicians for an initial consultation. The doctor will recommend specific fertility tests to get an overall picture of your reproductive health. Based on these test results, your overall health, and your individual goals and priorities, your doctor will provide comprehensive information on your fertility options, including egg freezing, and help you create a personalized fertility plan.
Still Have Questions About Egg Freezing? Click Here to Watch our latest Webinar with Dr. Julie Lamb & Emily Gray, RN.