When to freeze your eggs, who should freeze their eggs, and more
As egg freezing becomes more popular as a means of fertility preservation, we wanted to take the time to bust some common egg freezing myths. There are many reasons to consider freezing your eggs, whether medical or personal. It’s important to fully understand the process, so check out this list of facts vs. fiction as you consider your options
Myth #1: Egg Freezing Guarantees a Baby
Truth: Egg freezing can expand your future fertility options, but it’s not a guarantee.
Depictions of egg freezing in popular media makes it seem like an insurance policy, a one-size-fits-all solution to have kids later in life. However, as with all fertility treatments, nothing is 100% guaranteed. The egg freezing process is complex, with many different steps that can affect future success rates. Similarly, each patient responds differently to the egg retrieval process, and egg quality and quantity varies from person to person. Once you are ready to get pregnant, you’ll need to go through in vitro fertilization (IVF) with your frozen eggs, which has its own challenges.
Freezing your eggs may be an excellent option for you to feel more in charge of your reproductive future. It’s important to discuss your personal medical and reproductive history with a fertility specialist to get a realistic sense of your chances of a future pregnancy from your frozen eggs.
Myth #2: Only Single Women or Women With Cancer Can Preserve Their Fertility
Truth: All kinds of people can be eligible for egg freezing.
Egg freezing originally started as an option for women with cancer to preserve their fertility before going through chemotherapy. So, we understand where this egg freezing myth came from. However, technology and access has improved, and egg freezing is now available for social and personal reasons as well as medical.
Similarly, you can consider egg freezing whether or not you have a partner. Freezing your eggs can take off some of the pressure to find a life partner during your most fertile years. Plenty of people with partners consider egg freezing as well, though, if they are not yet ready to become parents. In fact, if you have a partner with sperm, you can develop and freeze embryos for future use, which may have a slightly higher success rate than frozen eggs.
Myth #3: Timing Doesn’t Matter
Truth: Freezing your eggs before your age 35 provides the best chance of a future pregnancy.
For people with ovaries, fertility changes significantly with age. Egg quantity and quality both decline over the years, dropping off dramatically after age 38. More than any other factor, egg quality affects the ability to conceive a healthy pregnancy.
When you freeze your eggs, it preserves their quality at the time of freezing. So, if you freeze your eggs before your late 30s (ideally before age 35), they are likely of higher quality, and you’ll have a better chance of successful fertilization and pregnancy than if you wait until your late 30s.
That being said, anyone who says that there’s one perfect time to freeze your eggs is telling you an egg freezing myth. Deciding when to freeze your eggs is a very personal choice that you should make with the guidance of a reproductive endocrinologist. Starting those conversations earlier, rather than later, will provide you with the best information and the most options later on.
Myth #4: Egg Freezing Makes You Run Out of Eggs Faster
Truth: Freezing your eggs does not affect your ovarian reserve or future fertility.
In a normal menstrual cycle, your ovaries start to develop around 15-20 eggs. However, only one of these eggs fully matures and is released through ovulation. The rest die off and are absorbed back into your body.
When you freeze your eggs, you take special hormonal medications to stimulate your ovaries. These medications encourage all or most of the eggs that start developing during your cycle to continue maturing. These mature eggs are then retrieved. So, basically, with egg freezing you are retrieving and preserving eggs that would otherwise die. For this reason, an egg freezing cycle should not change the overall amount of available eggs in your body or make you “run out” of eggs faster.
Truth: The Center for Fertility Preservation at PNWF Has all the Egg Freezing Facts You Need
Unfortunately, egg freezing myths are still extremely common. We believe people should have easy access to accurate information about their fertility options. We created our Center for Fertility Preservation to provide expert, compassionate guidance and treatment for egg, sperm, and embryo preservation. The center is led by Dr. Julie Lamb, a recognized leader in the field of fertility preservation. You can read her patient-centered guide to egg freezing here. And if you’d like to discuss your egg freezing options, set up an initial appointment today.
Resource: Mayo Clinic