Elective Egg Freezing
QUESTION: Why should I freeze my eggs?
ANSWER: Age is typically the most important factor when considering a woman’s fertility. Many women think that they can wait until their late 30s or 40s to have children. However, they may not know that the number and quality of their eggs diminishes as they age. The age of peak fertility is approximately 24 years old and continues to decline thereafter. In many women, fertility may begin to significantly decline between 35-40 years of age. As fertility declines, the chance of miscarriage also increases.
Many women are choosing to delay childbearing for a variety of reasons: they’re focusing on career opportunities, they’re pursuing advanced professional degrees, they haven’t found the right partner or they may not be sure about becoming a parent. Egg freezing is an option to preserve their eggs at a time when fertility may still be near its peak. With this approach, women may use their frozen eggs several years later, when they’re ready to build a family.
Egg freezing has been used for decades and has been shown to be safe and effective. In 2012, American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) declared that egg freezing was no longer experimental and could be used for fertility preservation.
Even though egg freezing doesn’t provide a guarantee for future pregnancy, it may increase the chance of having a child if a woman chooses to delay childbearing for many year after her years of peak fertility.
QUESTION: When should I freeze my eggs?
ANSWER: To take advantage of premium egg quality and quantity, the optimal time to freeze eggs is most likely when a woman is in her 20s and early 30s.
QUESTION: What does the egg freezing process entail?
ANSWER: First, you will meet with your physician to learn about the benefits and limitations of egg freezing. Next, you will have hormonal blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound to assess the quality and quantity of your eggs in the ovaries (also known as ovarian reserve). Based upon the results of testing, the physician will provide an estimate of your response to fertility treatment and approximate how many eggs may be obtained for freezing.
You will take injectable hormonal medication to safely stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. The process takes approximately two weeks. Your physician will determine when you are ready for egg retrieval. During the retrieval process, multiple eggs are harvested and then frozen using vitrification (freezing method). When you’re ready to attempt pregnancy, your eggs are thawed, fertilized with sperm, and the fertilized egg(s)[embryo(s)] is/are transferred into the patient’s uterus.
QUESTION: What are fertility assessment tests? What do the tests indicate?
ANSWER: If you are curious or have concerns about your fertility and ovarian reserve, and/or are considering egg freezing or other elective fertility treatments, you can do fertility assessment testing at CCRM Northern Virginia.
CCRM Northern Virginia’s Fertility Assessment Program includes:
Ultrasound evaluation of the uterus and the number of resting eggs in the ovaries.
Reproductive hormones (blood tests) including FSH, LH, Estradiol, and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) to evaluate ovarian reserve.
Regroup Office appointment with physician to review and interpret test results.