What You Need to Know about Egg Freezing
Knowledge is power! This is part of your self-care, because sometimes, only you can take care of yourself.
Women are becoming more educated, empowered, and independent. However, women are also delaying their family building to pursue and achieve their dreams and goals. The average age for women to have their first child used to be in their 20’s, but now, many are delaying having children until their late 30’s or 40’s.
While our society is changing, our biology does not. There are many reasons and benefits for egg freezing; how do you decide when it’s time to start the egg freezing process?
Did You Know…
The normal age range of menopause is 40 - 58 years old. Menopause is defined as having 12 months of no menstrual cycles and it’s estimated that about 7% of women go through menopause at the age of 40. In a population of one million women, which is 70 thousand women who will experience menopause around the age of 40.
5-10 years before menopause, perimenopause starts. Peri-menopause symptoms include irregular cycles, hot flashes, diminished ovarian reserve, and a decline in fertility.
The best predictor of when you will go through menopause is when your mother went through menopause. This is how knowledge is power!
Let’s talk about the range of normal fertility and make a fertility plan!
Peak fertility for a woman is during her 20’s. As we enter our 30’s, pregnancy rates decrease from 20% per month to 10% at the age of 35. Once we hit 40, pregnancy rates are only 5% per month. Because of this, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends egg freezing between the ages of 30-35 years. It can still be done after the age of 35, but the success rate of these eggs resulting in a baby significantly declines.
When you freeze your eggs, the eggs are cryopreserved and frozen in time. As you age, your frozen eggs do not. Many donor egg banks function on this concept. For example, if you freeze your eggs at age 30, then use them at age 43, the eggs will function as if they are age 30, not as if they are 43 years old. In essence, you are your own egg donor!
How is egg freezing done?
The process begins by taking a medication called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). Your body makes this hormone too, but only in a small amount that is enough to grow one follicle (egg) into maturity, until it ovulates. A high dose of FSH is needed to allow many follicles or eggs to grow at the same time. On average, you will take FSH for about 10-12 days before the egg retrieval procedure, in which the eggs are retrieved through an ultrasound guided minimally invasive procedure. That same day, the eggs are cryopreserved in a process called vitrification, which allows storage of the eggs for decades.
So, let’s get started! Schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist for a complete fertility evaluation to develop a family building plan that is right for you!