This is a question I am asked almost daily as a fertility specialist. If you are thinking about children in your future but are concerned that it may be approaching the end of your most fertile years, then freezing your eggs may be a good safeguard to give you a greater opportunity to have a child or children in the future.
Women are most fertile from age 20-35, with an abundance of egg reserves and of highest quality. After 35 the quantity and quality unfortunately declines and by the age of 40 it becomes harder to conceive naturally.
My suggestion to women approaching 35 who see children in their future but perhaps aren’t ready right now, is to have a look at the opportunity to freeze their eggs. The other scenario is when there are other medical issues that may cause you to delay having children, such as a course of chemotherapy and various cancer treatment programs. I do however like to recommend to my patients that if you freeze your eggs before age 38 and ideally before 35, you will have the best outcome in terms of egg quality and quantity.
Egg freezing involves extracting and storing your healthy eggs. The process involves a hormonal stimulation over 10-12 days, which usually includes self-administered injections, which are very easy to do at home once you have been shown by my fertility nurse. Once the eggs are matured, I remove them from the ovaries using an ultrasound machine and a special needle device that extracts the eggs. You would be under sedation during this procedure, which takes around 15 minutes. It’s very quick and you are able to go home about two to three hours after the procedure, although you would need to take the rest of the day off from work and other duties as you could feel a little sleepy for a few hours.Someone will need to be with you for the day to drive you home and care for you. It is not painful and most women feel absolutely fine by the following day.
Your eggs are then frozen in the IVF laboratory and then stored in freezing tanks of liquid nitrogen. The eggs can be stored indefinitely. However you will need to keep your details up to date with Melbourne IVF so that they can get in contact with you regarding extensions to storage times.
Egg freezing is quite a new opportunity for women and I have had good success with the technique. When you are ready to use your stored eggs around 85-90% of eggs survive the freeze and thaw process and then it is just like using a fresh egg. I have a very personalised approach to how many eggs I think you should freeze based on your individual circumstances.
Preserving your fertility is a novel way of freezing the fertility clock, without the pressures of work, relationships and time. Please feel free to make an appointment to see me if you would like to know more about egg freezing and the costs associated.