Have you ever considered freezing your eggs but didn’t know where to start or who to ask?
Here, IVF Australia fertility specialist Dr Andrew Hedges answers six questions about the process, the cost and the reasons why you might consider egg freezing.
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1. What exactly is egg freezing?
“If a woman comes in to see me about freezing eggs for future use, we always have a general discussion about fertility and health to make sure it is the right path for her,” Dr Hedges explains.
“I am always very clear that while there are no guarantees of a successful pregnancy, egg freezing does create more options.
“If a woman freezes her eggs at age 35 and then decides to use them at 42 to become pregnant, her chances are higher than if she just came to see me for the first time at age 42.”
2. How does the process of egg freezing work?
The process of freezing eggs begins in a very similar way to the first two weeks of an IVF cycle. The patient self-administers daily hormone injections and is regularly monitored by their treating doctor with ultrasounds and blood tests.
“Every woman’s treatment is adjusted to suit the individual,” Dr Hedges explains.
“Once we believe the eggs are ready to be collected, the woman receives a trigger injection to stimulate the eggs' release.
“The next day she comes into the clinic and the collection procedure is usually carried out under light general anaesthetic or with sedation. It takes about two hours and is usually well tolerated but may require a day away from work for rest and recovery.”
“We hope to collect somewhere between 12 to15 eggs as not all of them will mature once in the lab. The mature ones then undergo a procedure called vitrification and are frozen for future use.”
Occasionally, Dr Hedges says, a woman may need more than one cycle to get a good number of eggs to freeze.
3. Why might a woman consider egg freezing?
There are two main reasons women consider egg freezing, Dr Hedges says - social and medical.
“Many women I see are single and in their mid-thirties concerned about not having met someone they want to start a family with.”