Egg freezing is a method of cryopreservation that allows women to save viable eggs for use years later. In basic terms, egg freezing involves taking eggs and flash freezing them at extremely low temperatures in a vacuum, typically around -196 degrees Celsius. This prevents cell activity, keeping the egg in good condition to be thawed by fertility specialists and used in a future treatment cycle.
Dr. Ketan S. Patel and Dr. Diane G. Hammitt have used egg freezing to help numerous women in the Scottsdale and Gilbert, AZ area. Let’s discuss some reasons why egg freezing may be performed and whether or not it’s best for you.
Reasons to Consider Egg Freezing
There are many reasons to consider egg freezing. Some common reasons it’s done include:
- Preserving the Healthiest Eggs Possible - Women in their 20s typically experience peak fertility and have the healthiest eggs. By freezing eggs during your 20s or early 30s, you can preserve your ability to have children of your own many years later.
- Interest in Having Children Later in Life - Many women would like to have kids but want to build a career and pursue personal/professional goals first. Freezing eggs allows women to focus on their lives and then enter parenthood when they’re ready.
- Uncertainty About Becoming a Parent - Young women might be ambivalent about having children. It may not be a priority at the moment, but it could become one later in life. By preserving eggs, women can keep their options open without being tied down to a biological clock.
Egg Freezing During an IVF Cycle
In addition to the above, sometimes women may have eggs frozen during an IVF cycle. This is done for a number of practical reasons:
- In the case of a failed IVF cycle, the frozen eggs can be used instead of having to do another full round of fertility drugs and egg retrieval
- Viable eggs can be preserved for later use if a women decides to continue having children after this first successful IVF cycle
The Importance of Patient Age
As we noted above, patient age plays an important role in determining when eggs are viable and healthiest. If you’re younger, say in your twenties, egg freezing is generally a good idea. If you’re in your late thirties or older, egg freezing may not be the best option since egg quality is diminished.
Considering the Cost of Egg Freezing
Keep in mind that storing eggs and keeping them at such low temperatures is not free. It’s important to factor the cost of fertility preservation into any decisions you make with regard to egg freezing. We can discuss the cost of cryopreservation as part of the consultation process.
Different Options for Having Children Later in Life
If you have frozen eggs but are unable to carry the eggs to term yourself, you could always rely on a surrogate. Surrogate carriers are women who carry fertilized eggs to term in their own womb for other women, particularly older women and women with a high risk for pregnancy loss.
Learn More About Egg Freezing
To learn more about egg freezing and other matters related to fertility preservation, be sure to contact our fertility specialists. Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health can be reached by phone in Scottsdale at (480) 504-1255 and in Gilbert at (480) 681-1822.