Freezing eggs is a method used to preserve women’s egg by harvesting their ovaries in a frozen, unfertilized condition and is stored for later use. A frozen egg can later be thawed, combined with sperm in a lab and implanted in the woman’s uterus for in vitro fertilization.
Why freezing eggs?
You can freeze your eggs if you’re about to undergo cancer treatment followed by radiation or chemotherapy, as this can harm your fertility. This procedure before treatment might allow you to have biological children at a later date.
Secondly, if you’re undergoing in vitro fertilization or your partner isn’t able to produce sufficient sperm on the day you have your eggs retrieved, egg freezing might be needed.
Tests before egg freezing
Before beginning the egg-freezing process, the doctor performs screenings like Ovarian Reserve Testing. Why? To determine the quantity and quality of your eggs and Infectious Disease Screening.
To start with the process, doctors recommend freezing a total of 20 to 30 eggs. Then, Thawing six to eight eggs for each pregnancy attempt, depending on your age and egg quality. This may lead you to undergo ovarian stimulation more than once. Besides, egg freezing has multiple steps — ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and freezing.
- Ovarian stimulation requires synthetic hormones to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs — rather than the single egg that typically develops monthly.
- Egg retrieval is commonly done under sedation with the doctor’s guidance. A common approach is transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, during which an ultrasound probe is inserted into your vagina to identify the follicles. After egg retrieval, the cramping may occur.
- Shortly after your unfertilized eggs are harvested, they’re cooled to subzero temperatures to preserve them for future use.
Typically, you can perform normal activities within a week of egg retrieval. It is better to avoid unprotected sex to prevent unintended pregnancy. You can contact the doctor if you face a fever higher than 38.6 C, severe abdominal pain, weight gain of more than 2 pounds in 24 hours. Or, heavy vaginal bleeding and difficulty urinating.
Become a donor
You can even be a donor by donating the unused frozen eggs. The donor eggs can be given to a helpless couple or a research facility or can be discarded. People also go for embryo donation which is a form of third party reproduction. The resulting child is however considered the child of the woman who carries it and gives birth, and not the child of the donor. The same principle is thus followed in both egg or sperm donation.
Cost for Freezing Eggs
It cost about 10,000 dollars to harvest eggs from the ovaries, after several weeks of medication for egg stimulation. Then it charges near 500 dollars a year for freezing and storing the eggs. Each time eggs are thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus with IVF it costs about $5,000.
About 75 to 80 percent of eggs survive to freeze and thawing. The possibilities of becoming pregnant after implantation are approximately 40 to 50 percent, depending on your age at the moment of egg freezing. The older you are at the time of egg freezing, the lower is the chance for you to give birth.
Basically, your doctor can help you understand the overall process. Also, they assist you in choosing the right decision to give birth to a new life.