Egg Freezing: Why Not?
To sort out fact and fiction, Dr. Carolyn Givens, a Reproductive Endocrinologist at Pacific Fertility Center®, offers these facts to set the record straight.
Myth: Egg freezing is still experimental.
Truth: Sperm and embryo freezing and thawing have been successfully performed for decades. In 2013, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine declared that egg freezing should no longer be considered experimental. At PFC, we have proof that egg freezing works. We've had over 100 babies born from frozen eggs, including those from patient's own eggs and donor eggs.
Myth: I'm healthy, so getting pregnant should be easy.
Truth: Sadly, this is not the case. Egg aging is relentless, regardless of a woman's health. Both the quantity and quality of the eggs decline with age. By age 13, 2/3 of a woman's egg supply is lost. By age 40, 99 percent is lost.
Myth: Since I can always do IVF, I don't need to do egg freezing.
Truth: The success rates in achieving a pregnancy, even with IVF, drop dramatically after age 40. IVF cannot cure the problem of eggs being more likely to have chromosomal defects as the woman ages. Women trying to conceive after age 40 may have problems and have to use donor eggs if they don't have their own frozen eggs.
Myth: Freezing eggs now means that I will have fewer eggs in the future.
Truth: Not true. Each month, a woman in her reproductive years will have a set of potential eggs start to mature. Only one egg will end up successfully ovulating, and the rest are lost. In an egg-freezing cycle, these lost eggs are coaxed to mature and harvested.
Myth: Frozen eggs will lose viability quickly.
Truth: Once properly stored in liquid nitrogen, eggs should remain viable indefinitely.
Myth: The egg freezing process is painful.
Truth: Women do need to take injectable fertility medications for 10 to 12 days to mature the set of eggs that the ovaries are offering up. The needles are very small and most women do not find the injections to be painful. Some may experience bloating. IVF centers use sedation when the eggs are removed so there is no pain.
Myth: I will have to take a lot of time off to do egg freezing.
Truth: During the egg freezing process, there will be about five office visits lasting 15 to 20 minutes for ultrasound monitoring and blood tests for estrogen levels. The only day most women have to take off from work is the day of the egg retrieval procedure, because of the anesthetic medications. We offer appointments at 7 a.m. on weekdays for those who want to minimize time off work.
Hopefully, you now have a better perspective on the egg freezing facts.