Freezing Your Eggs Puts the Brakes on Declining Fertility
by Dr. John Storment
Egg freezing utilizes advanced cryopreservation techniques to freeze and store a woman’s eggs for future use. The process of egg freezing involves many of the same steps in a typical IVF cycle.
If the idea of delaying motherhood has crossed your mind, our Baton Rouge fertility center offers key facts you need to know about freezing your eggs for future pregnancy.
- A woman’s biological clock is far less forgiving than her partner’s clock. A woman’s fertility peaks in her 20s and by her late 30s her eggs are deteriorating, making it more difficult to get pregnant and increasing the risk of genetic defects. By age 40, your odds of conceiving naturally are only about 5 percent per month.
- Egg quality is best when a woman is in her reproductive prime (up to about age 28). Many eggs are usually still of good quality in the mid-reproductive years (age 29 to 38) and may remain usable (but with diminished chance for producing pregnancy) in the late-reproductive period (age 39 to 44). Bottom line: It is best to have eggs that are frozen when they are of the best quality possible.
- Similar to a standard IVF cycle, egg freezing, or “oocyte cryopreservation,” entails taking drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs, then having these eggs extracted surgically and frozen. Unlike a typical IVF cycle, the eggs are not fertilized. Our embryologists instead prepare the eggs for cryopreservation and storage for future use. When you are ready to get pregnant, you will let our Baton Rouge fertility center know and we will schedule the last steps of IVF. Now, we create embryos and transfer one back to your uterus for implantation.
- We’ve seen great improvements in technique and outcomes and expect to see more in the future. However, freezing your eggs today is no guarantee of having a baby tomorrow. As with any fertility treatment, as well as Mother Nature herself, there are so many factors that affect conception.
- Freezing your eggs can be expensive and physically demanding. While the cost is less than a full-blown IVF cycle, you will also need to consider egg storage fees and the eventual cost of fertilization and embryo transfer. What’s more, patients must give themselves daily hormone injections for two weeks before eggs are retrieved from the ovaries. The good news is that egg retrieval doesn’t take very long—only about 15 minutes.
Freezing your eggs is a big decision, so we want to make the process as comfortable and easy as possible. Our Baton Rouge fertility center has a staff dedicated to the egg freezing program to ensure that our patients are properly cared for, counseled and supported. Contact us to learn more about freezing your eggs.