Things to know before considering egg freezing
Egg freezing isn’t an insurance policy
While egg freezing may take some of the stress off of you in terms of knowing your baby-having timeline right now, it’s not necessarily a sure way of guaranteeing your forever fertility. Why? Not all the eggs you freeze are going to be viable, not only quality but also quantity in this situation. How many eggs survive the warming process and can be successfully fertilized depends on how old you were when you froze them, and how many are healthy and viable once they come out of storage.
Plus, fertility does change with age, so if you freeze your eggs at 25 and use them when you’re 35, you’ll have to contend with the realities of conception and pregnancy at that age.
There’s no perfect age at which to freeze your eggs but there are better ages
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), an optimal time to freeze your eggs is in your 20s and early 30s, while you have a higher ovarian reserve (the number of eggs in your ovaries) and healthier eggs. Having your fertility hormones tested and perform an ultrasound for follicle number can tell you a lot about the state of your ovarian reserve and help you decide whether egg freezing is right for you or not.
Egg freezing can be a good option if you have certain health issues
Egg freezing could be a way to preserve your current fertility if you have cancer that requires chemotherapy or radiation (both of which could affect your fertility), you need to have surgery that could damage your ovaries, or you have a condition that could do the same.
Learning you have a family history of early menopause, Turner’s Syndrome (a chromosomal abnormality that comes with a risk of premature ovarian failure), or a genetic mutation (like BRCA, which can predispose one to develop breast and ovarian cancer) and deciding to remove your ovaries might also be good reasons to talk to your doctor about whether or not you’re a good candidate for egg freezing.
Should you freeze eggs or embryos?
Embryos are eggs that have been fertilized with sperm. Freezing your eggs offers more options — you do not have to know who’s going to fertilize those eggs and you can take some time to figure that out. Embryo freezing is useful if you have a male partner and want to get pregnant via an embryo transfer in an IVF lab later on.
It is also possible that you’ll end up with more embryos than you might want to use and find yourself confronted with what to do with them: Discard? Donate? Keep them frozen? What happens to those embryos if you end your relationship with the person whose sperm was used? The same issues apply — how many will survive freezing. How many will result in a successful pregnancy whether you are dealing with embryos or eggs? So, ultimately, the answer as to what to do is between you, a partner (if you have one), and your doctor.
Getting informed in advance can help
It is understandable to feel overwhelmed when making decisions about your fertility. iBaby can help you take concrete steps now so you can get an idea of whether or not egg freezing is something you might want to consider. For example, learning about what your AMH levels which indicate your ovarian reserve are at right now can help you predict ovarian stimulation. When you take hormone injection to generate eggs or IVF success should you decide to freeze your eggs and use them later?