You’re in the middle of a career that’s taking off, you haven’t found your ideal partner yet, or you’re undergoing an invasive treatment: These are just three of the reasons why women turn to egg freezing.
This type of fertility preservation can play an invaluable role in your family-building dreams, but there are some important factors to consider beforehand.
To help you make informed decisions about your future, Drs. Richard Schmidt, Meera Shah, and the rest of the fertility team here at NOVA IVF want to outline a few points that you might consider before embarking on egg freezing.
Is there an ideal age for egg freezing?
At the beginning of this blog, we outlined several of the more common reasons why women choose to freeze their eggs. At the heart of most of these drivers is the desire to preserve the most viable eggs possible, which typically means freezing eggs in your 20s or early 30s.
After the age of 35, most women experience an age-related decline in the health, number, and viability of their eggs.
But we don’t mean to imply that we can’t freeze your eggs in your late 30s or early 40s, especially if you’re undergoing a treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Ultimately, there’s no single rule of thumb when it comes to the ideal age for egg freezing, and we thoroughly review each case so that we can aim for the best possible outcome.
An insurance policy?
When you feel it’s time for you to start, or add to, your family, we encourage you to first try the natural way, if that’s an option. If you’re unable to get pregnant or you’d prefer to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor sperm from the start, we turn to your frozen eggs to create your pregnancy.
While freezing your eggs may provide a layer of insurance, we cannot guarantee that your frozen eggs will garner better results than the eggs you’re currently releasing.
If, for example, you’re using eggs from when you were 25, you still need to contend with your body’s reproductive status at whatever age you are when you decide to get pregnant. In other words, if you’re trying to get pregnant after the age of 35, using an egg from when you were younger doesn’t preclude you from being considered of “advanced maternal age.”
A new way to freeze eggs
While there’s no guarantee when it comes to egg freezing, we can say that newer techniques — namely flash freezing your eggs (vitrification) — garner the same success rates as using fresh eggs during IVF. In fact, studies have found that vitrification has an 86% cryo-survival rate.
How many eggs should you freeze?
There’s no magic number when it comes to how many eggs you should freeze. At our practice, we perform an extensive analysis of your fertility and come up with a plan that gives us a 50-90% chance of success.
The good news is that we typically collect these eggs during a single two-week process. During this time, you take hormones to stimulate your ovaries, and then we use ultrasound to determine when you have enough viable eggs for harvesting.
After an injection to promote maturation of your eggs, we retrieve them within 35-37 hours and freeze the previously decided upon number of eggs.
If you’re considering egg freezing and you have more questions, we invite you to contact our office in Mountain VIew, California, to set up a consultation.