Oocyte cryopreservation or egg freezing wasn’t an option for women about two decades ago. Timing your pregnancy and effectively preserving your fertility for a time when you are mentally ready to get pregnant are concepts that took shape and form only in the recent years and there’s still a lot we need clarity on.
Freezing your eggs is an effective way of tricking your biological clock into being ready for later pregnancy. It is an involved process of fertility treatment wherein your mature eggs are extracted from your ovaries, kept away to freeze unfertilized, and stored safely for a time when you are ready to become pregnant. The initial steps of egg freezing are more or less similar to that of a process called in vitro fertilization. You undergo a series of hormone injections before your eggs are set for freezing. Before your eggs are retrieved, your doctor will prescribe to you a dose self-administered hormone injections and birth control pills to obstruct the function of your natural hormones. Following this, you will be called for another round of hormonal injections that will stimulate your ovaries and ripen multiple eggs. Once these eggs have matured they will be removed from your ovaries by means of a painless and sedative-driven surgery.
Then, you’re matured but unfertilized eggs are taken to an on-site lab where they are analysed for health and productive potential. The healthy ones are stored in a long-term storage facility at a fertility centre or a frozen egg bank. Experts cannot absolutely confirm this information but stored eggs can be stored safely for at least 5 two years.
When you are ready to have your baby, your eggs are treated with warming solutions in order to thaw them. Then, by means of a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a single sperm is injected into each of the multiple eggs. After a 3 to 5 day evaluation period, depending on their condition and the predictability of their continual growth, they are transferred into embryos through a catheter into your uterus.
While the entire process of egg freezing may seem simple, it is actually quite extensive and requires proper medical guidance and consultation. Before you consider freezing your eggs.
Here are a few things you may want to know and do before you go all in:
1. Research Is Key:
Finding a decent fertility clinic is not a task. With apps and sites that help you locate nearby doctors and clinics, getting treatment is easy. However, when it comes to matters of fertility and pregnancy, do a thorough search for a good and experienced clinic. Egg freezing might even be a new facility at many clinics. You don’t want to surrender yourself to someone you don’t completely trust and know nothing much about. Look around, online and offline, join chat forums and collective group discussions, talk to doctors, and get all the information you need before you narrow your pick down to that one perfect clinic. Ask questions and get all your doubts and queries cleared before opting for surgery.
2. Keep Your Finances In Check:
Oocyte cryopreservation is going to cost you a lot of money. In order to arrange for the best batch of eggs, which is about 10 to 30 eggs, you’re going to have to arrange enough money for your medical bills. Speak to the concerned people about what rates are the best and where you should go for pocket-friendly treatment.
3. Egg Freezing Does Not Guarantee Pregnancy:
One can never be completely sure of pregnancy. You cannot put a finger on it and say it’s definitely going to happen this time. Egg freezing for later pregnancy doesn’t assure you of sure-shot pregnancy. It is still just a chance you are taking, just like everybody else does, even when pregnancy is normally induced.
4. There’s No Need To Wait:
The best time to freeze your eggs is during your 20s and early 30s. If you have been thinking about getting it done, don’t wait for signs to tell you are ready. If you want it, you already are. The younger you are when you freeze your eggs; higher are your chances of getting pregnant.
There are a few misconceptions people have about freezing eggs. Here are 4 common egg-freezing myths, busted:
1. The Process Is Way Too Experimental:
In 2013, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine issued a statement that supported evidence that proves that egg-freezing and all its methods are perfectly safe, efficient, and effective. Before 2013, the process itself was fairly new and people feared it because they didn’t know much about it. The good thing to take away from here is the fact that freezing your eggs is not new and experimental anymore.
2. The Process Is Too Dangerous:
This is not a fact because evidence that may support the claim that egg is freezing is harmful doesn’t exist or hasn’t been discovered yet. As of today, egg freezing has no side-effects, and it does not increase or evoke the chances of cancers.
3. The Process Takes Time:
The ordeal takes about two weeks from scratch to finish. In the context of its significance to you, the process is hardly time-consuming. On the contrary, a steady and thorough process is what you need. It’s going to cost you 5-7 brief visits to your doctor that may involve a 15-20 minute consultation period each time. This is not asking for too much.
4. The Process Can Adversely Affect Your Fertility In The Future:
Egg freezing involves removing your eggs and egg retrieval. Hence, many misunderstand this and conclude that freezing your eggs results in the loss of eggs. This is not true. Actually, egg-freezing preserves and protects the eggs that are otherwise lost after you are done ovulating.