Egg Freezing

Preserving The Future: How Can Egg Freezing Help Me?

The path to parenthood is unique for everyone, and some may choose to start it later than others. Whether you're focusing on your career, waiting for the right partner, or dealing with health concerns, your dreams of parenthood deserve to be realized when the time is right for you. At Pinnacle Fertility, we understand the desire to wait, and we have options for those wishing to preserve their fertility. One method of doing so is through freezing your eggs, which can provide a promising path to future parenthood on your own terms.  

What Is Egg Freezing?

Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is a process that allows you to freeze your eggs at their most viable stage until the time is right for you to use them. Our team is here to guide you through every question and concern, making sure you are comfortable and well-informed about the process.  

Breaking Down the Egg Freezing Process

A patient talking to a fertility specialist

Step 1: Initial Consultation

You’ll start with an initial consultation with a fertility specialist at one of our clinics. During this meeting, you'll discuss your reasons for considering egg freezing, undergo a fertility assessment, and learn about the procedure, costs, risks, and more. This assessment typically includes tests to evaluate your ovarian reserve, such as ultrasounds and blood tests to measure hormone levels. This assessment of ovarian reserve allows your fertility specialist to tailor a treatment plan that is unique to you

Step 2: Ovarian Stimulation

Once you decide to proceed, the next step is ovarian stimulation. During this phase, you’ll take medication to help your ovaries mature multiple eggs during one menstrual cycle instead of the single egg that typically develops each month. These medications consist of hormone injections you administer at home for up to 14 days. You’ll also have several visits to the clinic for blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor your response to the medication.

Step 3: Trigger Shot

When your eggs have matured, you'll receive a "trigger shot," an injection that helps the eggs complete their maturation and start the ovulation process. The timing of this injection is important, as it needs to be scheduled approximately 36 hours before the egg retrieval procedure.

Step 4: Egg Retrieval

The egg retrieval procedure is a minor surgical procedure performed under sedation to ensure you have a comfortable and pain-free experience. Using ultrasound guidance, a needle is inserted through the wall of the vagina and into your ovaries, where eggs are gently collected from the follicles. The procedure usually takes about 20-30 minutes, and you may return home and resume normal activity afterward.

Step 5: Vitrification

Immediately following the retrieval, the eggs are evaluated in the lab. The healthy, mature eggs are then prepared for freezing through a process called vitrification. Vitrification rapidly cools the eggs to a glass-like state without forming damaging ice crystals. The eggs are then stored away in their frozen state until you decide to use them.

After egg retrieval, you may experience some side effects such as bloating, cramping, or spotting. It's important to follow your clinic's instructions for post-procedure care and report any severe symptoms.

It's also essential to discuss the potential risks and success rates of the procedure with your doctor. While egg freezing offers a chance to preserve fertility, success is not guaranteed, and the likelihood of pregnancy depends on many factors, including the age at which your eggs were frozen and the number of eggs stored.  

Does Egg Freezing Have Any Side Effects or Risks?

Like any medical procedure, egg freezing has some potential risks and side effects to be aware of. In some cases, the hormones used to stimulate the ovaries can lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), characterized by swollen, painful ovaries. Symptoms range from mild to severe and are closely monitored by our team.

The egg retrieval procedure, which is minimally invasive, is generally very safe. The risks involved include bleeding or reactions to anesthesia. These are rare, and your care team will take every precaution to minimize them.

The egg freezing process itself does not directly impact your ability to become pregnant and does not affect the overall health of your ovaries or your natural fertility. The hormones used during treatment temporarily stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs, but this stimulation does not deplete your ovarian reserve or reduce the number of eggs you would have had otherwise.

After the egg retrieval process, your menstrual cycle and fertility return to their normal state. Essentially, egg freezing is a method of preserving your fertility at a certain point in time, offering a potential path to parenthood later, without interfering with your body's natural ability to conceive if you decide to do so before using your frozen eggs.

When Should You Freeze Your Eggs?

A man carrying a woman on his back as they walk outdoors

Anyone wishing to freeze their eggs can do so at any time; however, some people may face situations that make it necessary for them to do so immediately if the future possibility of a biological family is important to them, such as:  

  • Facing a medical condition or treatment that might impact future fertility. Certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer, can negatively impact fertility. People diagnosed with cancer or other conditions requiring such treatments might freeze their eggs before starting treatment to preserve their ability to have biological children later.
  • Not having found the right partner to start a family with or not being ready.
  • Undergoing gender-affirming treatments such as hormone replacement therapy or surgery. Egg freezing before treatment provides an opportunity to preserve genetic material for future family-building options.
  • Some people choose to freeze their eggs as an "insurance policy" against the natural decline in fertility that occurs with age, giving them the option of using their younger, potentially healthier eggs later in life.  

The decision to freeze your eggs is a personal one, and the reasoning for it is different for everyone; there’s no right or wrong answer for when and why to do it. The best way to decide what’s right for you is to have a discussion with a fertility specialist so you are equipped with all the information you need to do so.  

How Do You Get Pregnant With Frozen Eggs?

A man puts his hand on his pregnant partner's belly

Understanding the process of building your family after egg freezing can be an important part of the decision to freeze your eggs. The process leverages an advanced reproductive technology called frozen embryo transfer (FET) to offer a safe and healthy path to conception, supported by a blend of cutting-edge science and personalized care to achieve the best possible outcomes for becoming pregnant. Here’s what to expect:

Thawing Your Eggs: When you’re ready to use your eggs, they will first need to be thawed from their frozen state. Thawing is carefully managed by our fertility experts, using precise techniques to ensure they remain perfectly healthy for your pregnancy.

Fertilization: Once thawed, your eggs are fertilized with sperm in a controlled laboratory environment. This process may involve intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where a single sperm is injected directly into an egg, to optimize fertilization rates. The fertilized eggs are then monitored as they develop into embryos. For this step, you may choose to use sperm from your partner, or donor sperm through a sperm bank or someone known to you.

Becoming Pregnant: The final step involves transferring the most viable embryo into the uterus of the person carrying the pregnancy. This may be one of the intended parents or a gestational surrogate. There, the embryo will grow and develop into your future child just like any other pregnancy!

Is Egg Freezing Successful?

It's important to note that success rates can vary based on several factors, including the age at which the eggs were frozen and the overall health of the individual. While egg freezing significantly increases the chances of future pregnancy, it does not guarantee it. Studies have shown that using frozen/thawed eggs to create embryos has a similar probability of producing a pregnancy as using fresh eggs

People who freeze their eggs at a younger age – typically in their late 20s to early 30s – tend to have higher success rates compared to those who do so at an older age. This is because egg quality and quantity decline with age, impacting the chances of a successful pregnancy.

The number of eggs that are frozen also plays a significant role. Freezing a larger number of eggs increases the odds of having at least one or more viable eggs to use in the future. The quality of the eggs is equally important, with healthier eggs leading to better outcomes.

The success rates of egg freezing have significantly improved over the years, thanks to advancements in cryopreservation techniques. Vitrification, a rapid freezing process, has been a game-changer – this method reduces ice crustal formation that can damage eggs and had greatly improved the survival rate of thawed eggs, fertilization rates, and subsequent pregnancy outcomes.

Egg freezing can be successful, particularly when done at an earlier age, but it’s important to have realistic expectations and discuss individual circumstances with a fertility specialist. Like any medical procedure, the outcomes of egg freezing are influences by individual health factors, technological advancements, and the expertise of the medical team you work with.

How Much Does It Cost to Freeze Your Eggs?

When considering egg freezing, it's important to understand the associated costs. The investment in egg freezing encompasses more than just the procedure itself; it includes initial consultations, hormonal medications, the egg retrieval process, and storage fees for your frozen eggs. It's also wise to consider potential future costs, such as the eventual thawing, fertilization, and embryo transfer processes when you decide to pursue pregnancy.

The total cost of egg freezing can vary widely depending on your specific circumstances, the number of cycles you undergo, and the clinic you choose. At Pinnacle Fertility, we understand that these costs can be significant, which is why we're committed to transparency and providing you with any information about affording care you might need.

While some of the costs of egg freezing are covered by insurance, everyone’s situation differs. We recognize the importance of making egg freezing accessible and have financial resources available to assist you. Our goal is to support you in every way possible as you take this important step towards preserving your fertility and future family dreams.

By choosing to freeze your eggs, you're not just preserving your biological potential; you're also embracing the freedom to make life choices on your own timeline, without the added pressure of a biological clock. For those contemplating this journey, we encourage you to reach out and learn more. Your dreams of parenthood deserve to be realized on your terms, and we’re dedicated to helping you make those dreams a reality.

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Written by: Pinnacle Fertility
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