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7 Facts You Need to Know About Egg Preservation (Freezing Your Eggs)

You may have had a vision when you were younger of how your life would look. You would finish school, get your dream job, meet your partner, and possibly have children.

However, life is not always as planned. People change and things change. Perhaps you aren't ready to have children yet. Perhaps you are still looking for a partner. Perhaps you or your partner received an unexpected medical diagnosis that has put the family's future in jeopardy.

In your 20s or 30s, you suddenly find yourself in the middle of targeted social media ads about egg freezing and fertility. These ads encourage you to freeze your eggs as soon as you are young, rather than waiting until they expire.

Perhaps your friends are talking about freezing eggs. It's possible that you didn't know you would need or want to freeze eggs.

Although egg freezing isn’t new, social egg freezing (a term used to describe the practice of freezing eggs for non-medical purposes) is growing in popularity.

How does egg freezing work?

Egg freezing refers to the process of freezing eggs after harvesting them. This allows you to try pregnancy later on through in vitro fertilization.

After you have decided to freeze eggs, you will go through the same initial steps that IVF patients who are going through an IVF cycle.

  • Step 1: You will receive fertility medications that increase egg production. Your ovaries will mature multiple eggs simultaneously with the hormones that are injected. This is known as ovary stimulation.
  • Step 2: Once your eggs have reached maturity, the eggs can be taken from the ovaries. This procedure is usually done outpatient and involves a relatively painless process that takes place under general anesthesia.
  • Step 3: Once the eggs have been recovered, they are frozen until you're ready for trying to get pregnant in the future.
  • Step four: Once you are ready to try for a pregnancy, the eggs and sperm are combined. Any embryos that are successful in development are transferred to the uterus and inserted.

What is the best time to freeze my eggs?

Although egg freezing was originally reserved for women suffering from serious illness, it is now available to healthy women who want to increase their fertility. Egg freezing allows you to not rush into finding a partner or stay with an unhealthy one because it is your best chance of having a baby.

However, you will want to freeze your eggs sooner than later. You have a better chance of getting pregnant if you freeze your eggs earlier than you think.

The best way to know if egg freezing might be a good fit for you is to have a chat with your health care provider or a reproductive endocrinologist/fertility specialist.

How many eggs have been frozen?

The person as well as the number of viable eggs created during ovarian stimulation will determine the number of eggs that are frozen.

What should I do before I freeze eggs?

Here are four things you need to know before freezing eggs...

1. Egg freezing can be prohibitively expensive

It's important to understand the costs and storage requirements of egg freezing. This will also help you determine what your insurance covers.

Today, less than half of the U.S. states require that insurance companies provide coverage for infertility treatment. Even if they do, that doesn't necessarily mean you get coverage. You must also be eligible for coverage.

Egg freezing without insurance can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 per year. This includes visits, medication and the removal of the eggs. However, it doesn't include the annual storage fee for frozen eggs. This can range from $400 to $800. If you plan to use the eggs in the future, it is important to consider the cost of IVF.

2. Side effects may occur

Every woman is unique, so you may experience some symptoms like bloating or cramping, tender breasts, moodiness, and other signs that you would normally experience during your period.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is a rare side effect that can be serious. This happens when fertility medications promote ovulation. This can lead to nausea, vomiting, severe pain, and fluid buildup.

3. It is not possible to guarantee a successful pregnancy

This can be a very disheartening thing, but it would not be true if you didn't freeze them and wait. You can have a little more peace of mind by giving yourself options.

4. Plan for your frozen eggs

New research shows that many eggs are not used after the fact as people delay childbearing due to social reasons.

There are many options if you don't want to use frozen eggs. You can:

  • Donate to an infertile couple
  • Give to science
  • Keep the eggs frozen in case of a change of mind

Takeaway

When making decisions regarding your fertility, it's easy for you to feel overwhelmed. Although having a baby may not be in your immediate plans, your doctor can help you make concrete steps to determine if egg freezing might be something you want.

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