Guide to Egg Freezing : Process, Risks, Cost and Side Effects
Egg Freezing is becoming increasingly popular as a method of delaying pregnancy. You can manage other elements of your life until you’re ready to conceive by deciding to freeze your eggs, whether it’s to pursue a profession, locate a spouse, or address health issues.
Even though freezing eggs is no longer novel, only some know the entire procedure. Making an informed choice requires knowing what to anticipate, the associated costs, and What might happen if eggs are frozen.
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Why Egg Freezing?
If you want to ensure that you can become pregnant in the future but aren’t ready to do so immediately, egg freezing may be possible. The success rate of freezing eggs is substantially higher for younger women than for older ones. The freezing of eggs should be done as soon as possible by women who want to do so.
The majority of clinics work with women under the age of 40. Age limitations apply to women between 40 and 49 in some clinics. Few will permit older women—45 and older—to preserve their eggs.
Live births from frozen eggs are not always guaranteed. Each frozen egg has a 2–12% probability of producing a live birth. The likelihood of getting pregnant depends on several factors, including uterine health, age, and general health.
Egg Freezing: Reasons Women Prefer It
Delay Pregnancy Age
The modern female is taking control of her life and achieving financial independence, defying long-held social standards. For many, this would include delaying getting married and starting a family.
When done in their late 20s or early 30s, egg freezing in these situations helps to preserve the quality of the eggs and can use up to 10 years later when the time is right. In any event, the individual should choose to start a family.
Female Infertility might include gender diversity, such as being transgender, and autoimmune disorders like lupus and sickle cell anemia.
Women who have cancer at a young age and must undergo aggressive treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy that lower their fertility should consider egg freezing.
These diseases can affect the reproductive system or the abdomen, where they might reduce ovarian reserve capacity or prevent conception. Here, egg freezing before the start of therapy allows them to have a biological child later, either independently or through a surrogate.
When Undergoing IVF
For moral or religious reasons, some people choose egg freezing over embryo freezing when undergoing in vitro fertilization.
Before Egg Freezing Process
The procedure takes a few weeks before a lady decides to freeze her eggs.
- Step 1: It begins with a consultation with a fertility expert who describes a series of hormone injections that will promote numerous eggs to mature in the woman’s ovaries. Medical professionals will use ultrasound during subsequent visits to monitor the ovaries and eggs.
- Step 2: A fertility specialist uses anaesthesia for a single process that takes between 15 and 20 minutes when it’s time to gather the eggs. She returns home the same day, and it is not painful.
- Step 3: If a woman wants to save more eggs from boosting her chances of becoming pregnant later, she may undergo numerous egg-collecting cycles.
The majority of women don’t use their frozen eggs again. So, those eggs can be defrosted, thrown away, or given to research or another couple.
If a woman decides to use her eggs later, they are defrosted, fertilized with partner or donor sperm, and develop into an embryo. This embryo grows in a lab for five or six days before being put into the woman’s uterus during a minor procedure.
However, some eggs likely won’t make it through the thawing procedure. Some people won’t fertilize. Some fertilize improperly, while others fail to take in a woman’s uterus.
Each egg a woman freezes thinks to have a probability of births ranging from 4.5 to 12 percent.
Egg Freezing Process
Once the egg matures, the doctor inserts a needle into the ovarian follicles to retrieve the eggs. The doctor typically uses ultrasound to direct the process.
However, the doctor might undertake abdominal surgery to remove the eggs if they are not visible during ultrasound imaging. In this surgery, doctor uses a small abdominal incision and a needle to retrieve the egg in this more invasive method while the patient is sedated and under pain medication.
The number of eggs they collected varies, usually around 10 to 12. These eggs are then frozen and kept indefinitely.
After the doctor has taken the egg, it must freeze as soon as possible. The eggs contain a lot of water, though, and if freezing happens right away, that water could condense into damaging ice crystals. Before freezing the eggs, the doctor injects a specific solution into them to stop this from happening.
When the woman is prepared to use her eggs in the future, she will have in vitro fertilization (IVF). In vitro fertilization (IVF) uses sperm from the woman’s partner or a donor to fertilize the egg in a laboratory.
If the process is successful, the embryo created by the egg and sperm will be implanted in the woman’s uterus a few days later. Most fertility clinics attempt to nurture many embryos at once to enhance the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
Risks Involved in Egg Freezing
The following are some risks of egg freezing: –
Fertility Medicines Complications
After ovulation or egg retrieval, the ovaries may swell and hurt due to injectable fertility medications such as follicle-stimulating or luteinizing hormones.
Some signs and symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is even more unlikely to experience the syndrome’s more serious, potentially fatal version.
On rare occasions, retrieving eggs with an aspirating needle might result in bleeding, infections, or damage to the intestines, bladder, or a blood vessel.
Even though egg preservation does not guarantee success, it may give women hope to become pregnant.
Risk of Miscarriage
Your age when eggs are frozen will be a significant factor in determining your risk of miscarriage if you use your frozen eggs to conceive. Because their eggs are older, older women have higher miscarriage rates.
Cost of Egg Freezing
The cost of egg freezing can be expensive and can vary depending on the clinic and your location. Also, remember that most insurance policies do not provide coverage for it.
One cycle may cost as much as $10,000. Storage of eggs and IVF might cost additional expenses of $5,000. The cost of drugs, ranging from $2,000 to $7,000 depending on the prescribed dose and combination of medications, might raise the overall cycle cost.
One should also consider the cost of storing the egg, as there is no end to egg storage. Depending on the clinic, this can amount to a fixed annual fee of $500 to $1,000.
Side Effects of Egg Freezing
Some women may experience cramps, bloating, and spotting following egg retrieval. And other adverse effects include weight gain, bloating, headaches, and mood changes which can be because of the excess hormones.
And in some rare cases, it can lead to Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (HSS). HSS can cause discomfort, nausea, and a weight gain of over 10 pounds (lb) in 3-5 days. Rarely, HSS may cause shortness of breath and blood clots in the legs.
Egg freezing is a tried-and-true option for those who want to maintain their fertility, whether due to health issues, a decision to put off having children, or a gender change.
The opportunity to preserve fertility can offer several advantages that make the approach worthwhile, even though it requires a few weeks of treatment.