As a woman ages the quality of her eggs declines making it challenging to become pregnant and/or have a successful pregnancy. Therefore, more and more women are choosing to egg freezing as a way to preserve their fertility until they find the right partner or are ready to start building a family.
Women must take hormones for an average of 10 to 12 days, stimulating ovaries to get as many mature eggs as possible. Doctors recommend women freeze 15-20 eggs. There can be side effects and a surgical procedure is required and anesthesia is used to retrieve the eggs.
The number of eggs and egg quality decline with age so a woman’s age when she freezes her eggs can make a big difference in success rates. The older a woman is when she freezes her eggs, the lower the chances of success. Women in their 20’s and 30’s have the best quality of eggs and highest subsequent pregnancy rates. Doctors generally don’t recommend the process for women over age 38.
Egg freezing is usually done either to preserve eggs when a woman is going to undergo cancer or other treatment that could permanently damage or destroy the eggs (e.g. radiation or chemotherapy), or for a woman who does not have a partner and/or does not yet want to get pregnant but wants to preserve her fertility by freezing eggs for future use. Eggs can be kept frozen for many years so that when the woman wants to use the eggs they can be thawed, fertilized with her partner’s sperm (or donor sperm if she has no partner) and the resulting embryo(s) transferred into the uterus 3 or 5 days later after the fertilization.
Insurance rarely covers egg freezing. Several employers have begun covering the process but coverage remains rare. Additional costs include annual egg storage fees plus the cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer when the eggs are eventually used. Most of the ARC member clinics offer egg freezing packages, and by using ARC Fertility Financing, patients can access this treatment with an affordable monthly payment plan.
Active treatment of a “fresh” IVF cycle ends when an embryo that has just been created by fertilization of an egg 3 to 5 days earlier is transferred back into the uterus. In many cases, additional embryos of good quality are available and can be frozen (embryo freezing) so that they can be used later in a frozen/thaw embryo transfer (FET) cycle, if the patient does not get pregnant with the fresh transfer. Since embryos can remain safely frozen for many years, they can also be transferred after a successful IVF cycle in order to have another child.
Freeze All Cycle
Sometimes, for various reasons, a woman may have a “freeze-all” cycle in which no embryos are replaced fresh and all the embryos are frozen for transfer in subsequent cycle(s).
If you would like to learn more about your options for egg or embryo freezing, please click on the button below to get in touch with a leading fertility specialist near you.