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14/03/2024 - 4 min read

What is egg freezing and is it right for me?

Thinking about freezing your eggs can be both empowering and overwhelming. It's a significant decision, and you likely have a multitude of questions and concerns swirling in your mind. Whether you're considering egg freezing for personal or medical reasons, understanding the process, risks, and success rates is crucial. In this blog, we'll delve into the world of egg freezing and address the most common concerns.

What is egg freezing? 

Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a process where a woman's eggs are collected, frozen, and stored for future use. It offers people the opportunity to preserve their fertility for various reasons, such as career goals, medical treatments, or personal circumstances. 

Who can freeze their eggs? 

Women who haven’t gone through the menopause can freeze their eggs. To increase the chances of a successful pregnancy from using a frozen egg, the best time to freeze eggs is in your 20s and early 30s.  

Age is a crucial factor since egg quality declines with age, making younger women more likely to have viable eggs for freezing. A lower BMI is often associated with better reproductive health and may indicate a lower risk of complications during the egg retrieval process. Additionally, having good quality eggs is essential for successful freezing and later use in fertility treatments. 

Typically, those who are below the age of 30, have a Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 35, and possess good quality eggs are the most suitable candidates for egg freezing. 

Understanding the process: 

The egg freezing process typically involves several stages, that happen in a 2–3-week timeframe: 

  1. Ovarian stimulation: You'll undergo hormonal injections to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs.
  2.  Egg retrieval: Once your eggs reach maturity (meaning they have developed from a follicle into an egg that can be fertilised), they're retrieved via a minor surgical procedure under sedation, and the quality of the eggs is assessed using our Artificial Intelligence EggSafe-AI.

  3. Freezing: Once the eggs have been assessed, they are then frozen using a technique called vitrification, preserving them at sub-zero temperatures.

  4. Storage: The frozen eggs are stored in a fertility clinic's laboratory until you decide to use them. Storage is an ongoing cost of egg freezing, paid either annually or monthly. More information on costs can be found here.

How many times do I need to freeze my eggs? 

The number of times someone has to go through the egg freezing process will depend on how many mature eggs are collected. The estimated number of mature eggs required to give a high and realistic chance of success at a later date is 15-20 mature eggs. If less than 15 eggs are collected, it will be recommended that patients go through another round.  

Addressing concerns: 

1. Success rates: According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), success rates for egg freezing vary depending on factors such as age and the number of eggs frozen. For women under 35, the chance of a live birth from thawed eggs is around 18-30%. The success rate is often lower than that of IVF from a fresh egg, mostly related to the age, as women using a thawed egg will often be over the age of 35.  

2. Risks: While egg freezing is generally safe, as with any medical procedure, there are potential risks. These include Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which occurs in a small percentage of cases, as well as the possibility of no eggs being retrieved. 

3. Emotional considerations: Deciding to freeze your eggs can evoke a range of emotions, from hope and empowerment to anxiety and uncertainty. It's essential to seek support from loved ones and consider counselling, which we provide, if needed to navigate this emotional journey. 

Is egg freezing right for you? 

Ultimately, the decision to freeze your eggs is deeply personal and should be based on your individual circumstances, goals, and values. It's advisable to consult with a fertility specialist who can provide personalised guidance based on your medical history and preferences. 

Egg freezing offers cisgender women, transgender, and non-binary individuals the opportunity to take control of their reproductive futures, providing a sense of security and peace of mind. By understanding the process, risks, and potential outcomes, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your fertility goals. Remember, you're not alone on this journey – we are here to guide you every step of the way. 

If you're considering egg freezing, don't hesitate to reach out to our team for more information and support. Your future fertility is worth investing in, and egg freezing may be the right choice to preserve your options for the years ahead. 

For more information about how much it costs, head to egg freezing and storage page. 

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