Ask us about egg freezing
How many eggs do I need to freeze?
One study indicates that a woman under age 38 with more than 8 eggs stored has a 50 percent chance of a pregnancy using those eggs. As women age, they need more.
To optimize the chance of conception, we recommend storing:
- 12 eggs, if you are younger than age 35
- 20 eggs, if you are between ages 35 and 39
- More than 20 eggs, if you are 40 or older
We do not recommend egg freezing for women 44 and older. For women 40–43, it is necessary to have good ovarian reserve—the ability to produce multiple eggs at once. Even with good ovarian reserve at age 40–43, it’s best to try to achieve pregnancy right away and not wait to try later with frozen eggs.
Will taking more of my eggs now mean I will have fewer in the future?
Retrieving eggs during one cycle does not deplete the ovaries’ overall supply of eggs. Instead, it “rescues” available eggs that would otherwise be lost.
In a normal ovulation cycle, a group of egg follicles competes to become the dominant one that ovulates the egg. The ones that do not ovulate (secondary follicles) are lost. Fertility medications allow those secondary follicles to grow to the point that their eggs can be harvested. With stimulation, eggs that would otherwise disappear are rescued.
What experience does the team at Pacific Fertility Center have?
Pacific Fertility Center was one of the first groups to offer egg freezing care in Northern California. Our team developed techniques of embryo vitrification for use with eggs, and has taught these techniques to many other groups.
Our physicians all trained in some of the finest institutions in the United States, and continue to advance fertility technology through research and development. Our entire staff is highly trained and experienced and engages in ongoing learning and improvement.
Our doctors write, publish, and teach about fertility medicine, and have been quoted in major publications and on television. Listed with Best Doctors, Top Doctors, and 415 TopDoctors, our physicians have accumulated experience that is unusually rich and rarely found elsewhere.
How much time will I have to take off of work for appointments?
You will have about 6 clinical appointments. Your first consultation with the physician will be an in-person visit (1 hour) or a telephone call (30 minutes). However, if you do proceed with treatment after a telephone call, the fertility assessment requires a separate 30 minute in-office ultrasound and blood test.
We schedule all consult appointments Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition, we offer an early morning weekday orientation class to teach you about medication administration.
During the time ovaries are being stimulated (8–12 days), you will require about 4-5 office visits for ultrasounds and blood tests. These appointments take about 20–30 minutes and are available between 7 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. The day eggs are retrieved is the only appointment that requires a full day off work.
How much does a cycle of egg freezing cost?
Pacific Fertility Center pricing is as follows:
Egg Freezing (First Cycle) - $8,345 includes: clinical monitoring, egg retrieval, egg cryopreservation, and egg storage (Year 1).
Egg Freezing (Subsequent Cycles) - $6,995 includes: clinical monitoring, egg retrieval, and egg cryopreservation.
These fees do not include:
- New patient consultation, including ultrasound ($375)*
- Precycle labwork (generally covered by insurance)*
- Egg Freezing medications ($2,000 - $6,000)
- Ongoing tissue storage costs ($600 / year)
*Only applicable to your first cycle
Do you have payment plans?
We are a preferred provider of CapexMD fertility financing solutions. CapexMD’s competitive payment plans start as low as $199 per month. If you would like to learn more about CapexMD’s loan options, please either call (888) 497-8414, or submit an application and get pre-approval within 24 hours. Each loan is customized to your unique financial situation.
Does it hurt?
The process of growing a number of egg follicles to a mature size can give a feeling of fullness or bloating in the pelvic area. This can be uncomfortable, but rarely results in lost time at work or school.
The retrieval process itself is done under intravenous (IV) sedation, so you are breathing on your own, but “asleep” and not experiencing any pain. Almost all women return to work the day after the egg retrieval. For a few days after the egg retrieval, the ovaries will re-expand to the size they were just prior to the egg retrieval procedure. Any potential discomfort can be managed with reduced activity and a heating pad. The level of discomfort is often associated with egg yields; women with greater egg yields experience more discomfort than those with fewer.
How long will it take for my body to return to normal after egg retrieval?
You can anticipate some bloating and temporary weight gain for 10–14 days after retrieval. It is not unusual to gain 2–8 pounds of fluid weight. After this time, you may have some minor lingering ovarian discomfort. Expect a menstrual period within 14 days after retrieval. Following this menstrual cycle, cycles usually return to normal. Any associated weight gain will be mostly gone by the onset of the following menstrual period.
Can the medications affect my current health or my future health?
Fertility medications have been in use for more than 30 years and have undergone multiple scientific studies that confirm their safety.
The most common problem with fertility medications is ovarian hyperstimulation. This can occur when large numbers of follicles (more than 20) are stimulated. This condition is more common in younger women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or irregular menstrual cycles.
Mild hyperstimulation is common in many cycles, causing symptoms such as ovarian enlargement, bloating, and temporary weight gain. Severe hyperstimulation that requires medical treatment occurs less than 1 percent of the time.
At PFC, our doctors have many years of experience. We’ve designed our protocols to minimize the risk of hyperstimulation. If necessary, we will cancel a cycle to prevent hyperstimulation, though this is a rare occurrence.
Can I get pregnant right after egg retrieval?
Even after egg retrieval, one or more eggs may remain in the pelvis, so pregnancy is possible. Therefore, once you start on fertility medication, we recommend using condoms during intercourse. However, know that intercourse can be uncomfortable while your ovaries are stimulated. Refer to the consent form for a full explanation.
Do children born from previously frozen eggs have health issues?
In early studies, the risk of birth defects in children born from previously frozen (cryopreserved) eggs appears similar to those born after natural conception. As with any pregnancy, birth defects after egg freezing are possible and have been reported. At this time, there is not enough data to determine the degree of specific risks. A larger number of births will be required to confirm these findings.
How do I know if my eggs are any good?
Age is the best predictor of egg health. Ultrasounds and blood tests can predict the approximate egg numbers expected from a cycle of stimulation. However, it is not possible through clinical tests to measure egg quality. Ultimately, a good egg is one that achieves a successful pregnancy.
Chromosome testing of embryos after thawing and fertilizing can determine chromosomally normal embryos, which is an important aspect of egg health. Known as comprehensive chromosome screening (CCS), this new technique is now commonly used to screen embryos and improve outcomes.
How do I know if egg freezing is a viable option for me?
Pacific Fertility Center doctors can assess your fertility health using an ultrasound and blood tests. A physical exam will determine if there are any anatomic barriers to pregnancy. On request, psychological counseling is available to help sort out any relationship or life-plan issues.
How long can eggs remain frozen and still be viable?
In limited studies, eggs seem quite stable once frozen (vitrified), so there does not appear to be any short-term limit to maintaining them. Nevertheless, due to the lack of long-term storage data, we currently encourage you to use your eggs within 10 years of being vitrified.
How do I use the stored eggs?
Currently, stored eggs are thawed 6 at a time and inseminated with a sperm injection technique that has been in use for more than 20 years. This is known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). ICSI is needed because the process of preparing and freezing eggs hardens the shell covering the egg. Thus, the simple insemination technique of placing sperm in the same media bubble as the egg will not result in fertilization.
After fertilization and embryo growth, 1 or 2 embryos are selected for transfer into the uterus. We time transfer of the embryos for day 5–7 after ovulation in a natural cycle in women with regular menstrual cycles.
Embryo transfer is a quick and easy procedure done under ultrasound guidance in a clinic exam room. You don't need anesthesia for this transfer. Alternative means of preparing for transfer are available for women who do not have menstrual cycles or who are in menopause.
What are Pacific Fertility Center’s success rates?
The technology of egg freezing works! As of mid-2017, Pacific Fertility Center has over 100 births from frozen eggs. Most of these births are from donor eggs retrieved from women under age 30, while the others are older patients’ own eggs. Many of those freezing their own eggs are over age 30, and haven’t used their eggs yet. Therefore, reported outcome data in the older age group will not be available for several years.
At Pacific Fertility Center, the egg recovery rate after vitrification and later thawing is 83 percent, and fertilization rate is 84 percent. The births from eggs retrieved from women under age 30 achieved a clinical pregnancy rate (ultrasound with gestational sac at 7-9 weeks gestation) of 53 percent.
Where and how are the eggs stored?
As of this writing in 2017, eggs are stored in cryopreservation facilities at PFC in San Francisco. Storage facilities outside San Francisco are available, and we may elect to move eggs to an outside facility at some point in the future.
Is there an age limit for using preserved eggs?
Pacific Fertility Center supports transfer of embryos into women up to age 55. Embryos created from frozen eggs can be transferred into a gestational carrier for a woman who is older than age 55. However, PFC requires compliance with its age-limit guidelines for both partners of a parenting couple. If you have questions about how this might impact your fertility planning decisions, please don't hesitate to discuss this with us.
If I have unused eggs, would I be able to donate them to someone else?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict guidelines about testing required with the transfer of genetic material to another person. This includes blood tests that must be done within 30 days of the egg retrieval. Those blood samples must be analyzed at an FDA-approved lab. Your clinical coordinator will review with you whether you would like the option to donate any unused eggs in the future and, if so, arrange for the appropriate required testing.
Could my eggs be mixed with someone else’s?
Pacific Fertility Center has developed advanced standards of error reduction and management for laboratory security. We have designed protocols with multiple checks and balances to reduce the possibility of error to very low levels. This minimizes lab mix-ups, tissue loss, and environmental risks. It is extremely unlikely that a lab error would result in a loss of eggs.
Will I see my own doctor?
At Pacific Fertility Center, a thoughtful, compassionate doctor who is educated in the latest fertility techniques will provide your care. Your doctor is the leader and organizer of your treatment. In addition to the new patient consult, your doctor is available by phone consult or by email as any questions arise. All monitoring and ultrasound visits are with a physician.
Supporting your doctor is the Patient Care Team—a nurse, nurse assistant, and coordinator. This is a close-knit, highly skilled team that meets frequently throughout the day to manage and coordinate your care.
How can I get started?
Pacific Fertility Center has staff dedicated to helping new patients obtain an appointment with one of our fertility specialists. You can reach new patient coordinators via our website here or by calling 415-834-3095 or 888-834-3095 toll-free. You can arrange for a consultation by telephone or book a new in-person consultation.