Many women are now choosing to freeze their eggs for fertility treatment later on in life, but what is the process and why would you want to? Read on to find out:
Why do women consider freezing their eggs?
Because a woman’s fertility is dependent on the age of her eggs a lot of women choose to freeze them if they haven’t yet met a suitable partner or if the time isn’t right for them to have children perhaps due to career or educational goals. Freezing your eggs at an early age can maximise your chances of becoming pregnant if you have problems in the future. Some women also freeze their eggs due to medical reasons ranging from impaired ovarian function to chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for cancer.
What is the process?
The process is the same as IVF except once the eggs are retrieved they are frozen. So, a woman will spend 2-4 weeks self-administering hormone injections and birth control pills to temporarily turn off natural hormones, stimulate the ovaries and ripen the eggs. When the eggs are mature they are removed under mild sedation through the vagina which takes about 10-15 minutes. Depending on the woman’s age and the success of the fertility medications there could be zero eggs retrieved or more than fifteen. The eggs are then evaluated for health and then frozen.
Is the retrieval painful?
The actual egg retrieval should not be painful because an anaesthetic will be administered prior to the procedure but afterwards some cramping may be experienced, much like menstrual cramping.
What happens when I need them again?
When the woman is ready to use the eggs they are thawed then fertilised with sperm in the hope that a healthy embryo will be created. If so, it will then be transferred to the woman’s uterus with a chance of pregnancy.
How much does it cost for the process?
The cost is similar to that of IVF which can be around $10,000 then the cost to keep the eggs frozen can be up to $1000 each year. There will also be additional costs when the eggs are thawed, fertilised and transferred.
If you think that freezing your eggs could be for you, contact your GP or a fertility expert for more information.
Image via eggfreezingdoctor.com