Chrishelle Stause, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Mindy Kaling, and Kourtney Kardashian are just a few of the celebrities who have recently spoken out about freezing their eggs, and it turns out that they’re on to something.
As more people choose to put off having children for a variety of reasons, such as a lack of a partner, the desire to concentrate on their careers, or a lack of financial readiness, egg freezing has grown in popularity as a viable option. According to an report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology , the total number of egg-freezing cycles in the U.S. has increased by more than 104% since 2009.
If you’ve ever considered freezing your own eggs, you are aware of how difficult the process may be. (How long does it take, and how much does it cost?) Here is a helpful primer guide that clarifies everything for you.
HOW AND WHY TO FREEZE EGGS The director of perinatal services and maternal fetal medicine at NYC Health Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx, New York, Kecia Gaither, M.D. is a double board-certified doctor in ob-gyn and maternal fetal medicine. The ultimate goal is to postpone having children while allowing women to maintain their fertility in place of a predicted reduction in “fertility,” as stated by the author.
According to Cindy Duke, M.D., Ph.D. , a dual-certified ob-gyn/virologist and fertility specialist, egg freezing enables everyone born with ovaries to retain their eggs at a time when they are most likely to be in good health.
FYI: According to study Studies , individuals who freeze their eggs prior to the age of 35 have a higher likelihood of becoming pregnant in the future than those who do so after that age. (That’s because, according to Dr. Duke, as you get older, both the quantity and quality of your eggs decrease.)
This enables younger women or women with health issues to store their unfertilized eggs until they are prepared to pursue parenting, according to the expert.
According to Dr. Gaither, there are a number of frequent reasons why you might wish to put off having children and freeze your eggs.
You want to reach certain educational or professional goals. You haven’t chosen the best spouse. Your ovarian function may be impacted by cancer or another disorder, such as endometriosis, for which you have received a diagnosis. Right now, you don’t feel mentally or financially prepared to raise a child. You’re not sure if you want to have children, but you want to keep the option open According to Dr. Gaither, the advantages ‘ultimately impart protection of healthy eggs until such a time as the lady considers ‘appropriate’ to conceive.
THE FREEZING OF EGGS The method is the main source of misunderstanding surrounding egg freezing. What it actually entails is as follows.
DIAGNOSTIC TESTING AND PLANNING WITH YOUR DOCTOR IN PHASE 1 Your doctor might do ovarian reserve testing during this initial stage of the egg-freezing procedure, which may involve a number of tests, according to Dr. Duke. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine , one typical test is a blood test that assesses the concentrations of particular hormones linked to fertility, such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, and antimüllerian hormone (AMH) (ASRM). Your doctor might also prescribe clomiphene citrate , a drug that aids stimulate ovulation , for five to seven days as part of the ovarian reserve test. Your doctor can use the findings of this test to determine how well your body might react to fertility medications.
A transvaginal ultrasound is another ovarian reserve test that counts the number of tiny follicles (2–10 mm in size) in your ovaries. (ICYDK: On your ovaries, you have little sacs of fluid called follicles that contain developing eggs.) This can help you determine how many eggs you have and how you will react to gonadotropin medicines , which contains the hormone FSH, which is primarily responsible for the development of mature eggs.
According to report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology 0, board-certified ob-gyn and founder of HPD Rx, “the initial stage can take an unsure period of time as your doctor has to undertake tests on specified days of your menstrual cycle.” Finding out how many eggs you will produce that can be frozen is the aim of this step.
The ASRM cautions that no ovarian reserve test can determine your capacity to conceive or how many fertile years you may have remaining; nevertheless, these tests can give your doctor information on how likely you may be to conceive compared to other women your age. Additionally, bear in mind that if you use hormonal birth control, such as the pill, you could exhibit report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology 1.
Phase two is getting ready for egg extraction. This stage, which will last for about two months, is when you start receiving daily hormone injections to assist your body in producing more eggs.
The goal, according to Dr. Swarup, is to raise the likelihood that the follicle on your ovaries produces eggs and that they develop normally. The timetable for completing this phase is determined by “your specific biology and your cycles.”
You will need to administer report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology 2 injections once or twice a day for a week or two. According to Dr. Swarup, you can also have a friend or medical professional provide the injections.
In order to assess your hormone levels and perform pelvic ultrasounds, he advises that you visit your doctor periodically. The tests aid in choosing the right dosage and timing for your egg extraction surgery.
You’ll receive a shot known as a “trigger” when your follicles are big enough. According to Dr. Swarup, this shot must be administered at a very specific moment and aids in the maturation of the eggs so they can be retrieved. report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology 3, a hormone made by the placenta and normally present in early embryos, is present in a trigger shot, as previously reported by Shape.
PHASE 3: SURGICALLY RETRIEVING EGGS The eggs will then be surgically removed by your doctor 36 hours following your trigger shot. According to Dr. Swarup, this is an outpatient surgery done at your doctor’s office; it’s typically done while you’re under sedation so you’re awake. He continues that it usually takes 15 to 45 minutes.
According to Dr. Swarup, “Your doctor will use a needle that is guided by an ultrasound and suctions the fluid from your follicles.” The developed egg should be present in each of the follicles, according to the goal.
According to Dr. Swarup, recovery is modest and you should be able to go to work the next day. Within a few days, most women report feeling pain-free and normal, he claims.
PHASE 4: STORAGE AND FREEZING OF THE EGGS Dr. Swarup explains that after removing the eggs surgically, the fluid from the follicles will be given to an embryologist who will check to determine whether there are any mature eggs.
He states, “The mature eggs will be frozen or cryopreserved.” The laboratories employ a quick freezing technique known as vitrification. Until you choose to use them, the eggs will be kept frozen in your fertility clinic.
PHASE 5: GOING BACK TO THE CLINIC TO USE THE EGGS AND THAW THEM Have you made the decision to use your frozen eggs? They must survive thawing; according to report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology 4, which analyzes patient data spanning 15 years, thawed eggs often have a 79 percent survival rate (although this can vary based on age, genetics, medical conditions, and other variables). An embryo can only be created after successfully fertilizing eggs with partner or donor sperm.
Genetic testing will now be performed on embryos to see whether they have a normal chromosomal complement, which is required for a successful pregnancy and makes a pregnancy and child more likely to be healthy. The DNA of the embryo will be examined by doctors for any abnormalities brought on by an excess or deficit of chromosomes.
“The final phase comprises the embryos being transferred and put back into the uterus for a healthy pregnancy and a live birth,” he says of the procedure if the embryos have been determined to be viable. By the way, within two to five days of your egg retrieval, an embryo transfer is typically performed as an outpatient procedure at your doctor’s office.
HOW MUCH DOES FREEZING EGGS COST? Depending on where you reside, the cost of freezing your eggs will vary. However, according to Dr. Gaither, the average cost for treatment and storage is between $30,000 and $40,000. According to her, most people require an average of two cycles to produce enough eggs, which works out to roughly $15,000 each cycle.
Dr. Duke continues, “While there are more insurance companies now that will cover some sections of the procedure’s cost, the majority of insurance companies do not.” So, all you have to do is call your insurance.
THE CONCLUSION As you can see, freezing your eggs has significant advantages, but the process is time-consuming and expensive. And the less likely it is that it will lead to a future pregnancy that is successful the older you are when you do it. Therefore, Dr. Duke advises that if you need to defrost your eggs in the future, ask your doctor how many eggs you should freeze to give yourself a decent chance at having a child.
If you decide that having a kid is what you desire, choosing the correct clinic is also essential to improving your chances of doing so in the future. Discover their ‘oocyte cryosurvival’ rate, advises Dr. Swarup. “This is how many eggs survive after being warmed up.”
He advises confirming that this information pertains to the eggs that the clinic both warmed and frozen. Look for a rate of at least 80%, he advises, adding that a score of 90% is fantastic.