Is egg freezing safe?
The risks of egg freezing are generally low. There are risks during both ovarian stimulation (during which you take injections for 9-12 days) and egg retrieval. The main risk during ovarian stimulation is an over-response syndrome; however, as there are several strategies that can be utilized to minimize this risk, the incidence remains low. The risks for egg retrieval are similar to those encountered with minor same day surgery.
To date, there have been thousands of babies born from frozen eggs. Promising data support that there is no increased risk for birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities, or pregnancy related complications in pregnancies created from frozen eggs. However, it will take many more years with longer follow up data to determine the definitive answer to this question.
If I do a cycle or more of egg freezing, would I run out of eggs at an earlier age?
A woman is born with approximately one million eggs, but she will only mature and ovulate several hundred of them before menopause. Thousands of eggs are lost each month during this maturation process. During a cycle of egg freezing, eggs that are recruited are those that would be otherwise lost; therefore, undergoing one or more cycles will not accelerate the time at which you would enter menopause. In simpler terms, ‘use them or lose them’ is quite applicable to a woman’s eggs in any individual cycle.
What are the chances for success?
Although earlier slow freezing technology yielded a lower chance for egg survival through the warming process, along with a lower chance for live birth, the development of vitrification (or “flash freezing”) has led to comparable live birth rates when compared to pregnancies created from fresh eggs. Still, egg freezing should never be considered a guarantee for future pregnancy.
How long do frozen eggs last?
Live births have been reported from eggs frozen for between 2-10 years. Theoretically, however, egg quality should not decline with longer term storage.
How many eggs should I freeze?
This number is dependent on your age and how many children you plan to have. Based on thaw survival, developmental competency, and fertilization rates, one should aim to freeze roughly 10-15 eggs for each desired pregnancy.
Is there an ideal age to freeze?(for elective egg freezing)
This is a tricky question, and somewhat of a double – edged sword. A recent study by Steiner, et al, highlights the importance of this decision making process. The highest probability of live birth is seen when elective egg freezing is done <34, as the strongest predictor for live birth following in vitro fertilization is the age of the egg. However, if you freeze your eggs in your twenties, or even early thirties, there is a good chance that you will still have the opportunity to get pregnant naturally. In this scenario, freezing your eggs served as insurance, and you may never need to utilize them. On the contrary, the largest benefit (compared to no action) may be seen at later ages, as women who choose to delay childbearing will have a better chance for pregnancy utilizing relatively younger eggs. The downside to this scenario, however, is that if women delay childbearing to later ages (early 40’s) and don’t conceive with their frozen eggs, they have potentially missed their window for natural conception as well. Ultimately, however, if you are considering egg freezing as an option, it is always best to pursue a cycle sooner rather than later.
How will I know if this works?
You don’t…and we don’t either. Egg Freezing is not a guarantee, but it can provide you with an insurance policy should you need to use them later on.
We encourage you to look at our excellent rates for pregnancy and live birth from frozen embryos. These rates, which are comparable to the success achieved from ‘fresh’ cycles, are a demonstration of the quality of our laboratory facilities and professionals. While not identical, these processes are similar in their use of cryopreservation and vitrification, which provides you with a strong track record from which to make your decision.
Call our offices at 630.954.0054 to schedule a consultation with one of our board certified Reproductive Endocrinologists to find out if egg freezing is right for you.
Team RMI is offering special pricing on Egg Freezing! Contact us!