Fertility Blog

Preserving the Future: The Power of Egg Freezing

Egg-freezing technology has empowered women to defer conceiving a biological child. Known as oocyte cryopreservation, this method can be particularly beneficial for women navigating career advancements or facing health challenges like cancer. However, it's important to recognize that egg freezing may not be suitable for everyone, and achieving pregnancy is not guaranteed. If you find this option intriguing, it's advisable to have a detailed discussion about the process with your fertility specialist.

Egg Freezing, a Biological Time Capsule

Female babies are typically born with ovaries containing approximately 1-2 million eggs, but this number declines over time. A woman's prime reproductive years typically range from her late teens to late 20s, with fertility declining notably in the mid-30s. By around age 45, natural pregnancy becomes increasingly rare.

Under normal circumstances, about 25% of healthy women can expect to conceive in a single menstrual cycle, but this rate drops to about 10% by age 40. Eggs are at their healthiest in women under 35, making egg freezing usually advisable before this age. Beyond 35, the likelihood of pregnancy complications such as miscarriages tends to increase. After age 40, risks like high blood pressure during pregnancy often become more prevalent.

The Egg Freezing Process in Detail

The egg-freezing process shares many similarities with in vitro fertilization {IVF}. The process entails:

  1. Self-injecting daily hormone medications for 10–12 days, enabling multiple eggs’ simultaneous development
  2. Undergoing 4-6 pelvic ultrasounds and frequent bloodwork to track egg development
  3. Undergoing egg retrieval, an ultrasound-guided surgical procedure that’s performed under anesthesia in which mature eggs are gently collected from the ovarian follicles

Unfertilized eggs undergo flash-freezing through a process called vitrification. This method involves rapid cooling and the use of high concentrations of cryoprotectants, which are substances that prevent the formation of ice crystals.

Egg Freezing Doesn’t Guarantee Conception

It's a common misconception that egg freezing serves as a fail-safe for future parenthood. However, this process is not a guarantee of successful conception. Factors such as age play a significant role in determining its effectiveness. Additionally, assessing both the quality and quantity of eggs during IVF can be challenging, as not all eggs survive the thawing and fertilization stages.

Challenges and Risks of Egg Freezing

Undergoing egg freezing involves various challenges and potential risks. Multiple rounds of blood work and ultrasounds are typically necessary. Moreover, hormone injections, a key aspect of the process, can lead to side effects such as nausea, cramps, headaches, mood changes, anxiety, and depression. There's also a rare but serious risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which occurs when the body reacts adversely to the injections.

Discover the Benefits of Egg-Freezing with Washington Fertility Center

Egg freezing offers women a secure and efficient method to delay fertility, whether it's for life events or health considerations. Discuss the various factors, including the advantages, with your fertility specialist. If you're interested in scheduling an egg-freezing consultation, we invite you to contact Washington Fertility Center today. Explore the possibilities and envision the benefits of egg-freezing with our expert team.