You’re not ready to have a baby, but you know you want one someday, so you’re considering freezing your eggs. You know that every decision has a downside (including the decision not to freeze your eggs). You wonder, then, what are the downsides to egg freezing?
Dr. Sharon Moayeri and Dr. Nidhee Sachdev, fertility experts at OC Fertility in Newport Beach, California, offer egg freezing as a way to give peace of mind to women who want to have children, but aren’t ready to put their lives on hold right now. As with every decision, though, some cons must be considered along with the pros.
First, nothing is guaranteed
Although egg freezing has a high success rate, it’s not 100% for all women. We use the latest technology — called vitrification — which flash-freezes the eggs and removes the moisture so that it won’t form ice crystals.
Vitrification increases the odds that the eggs will thaw perfectly, without damage. However, not all of your eggs will make it. And of those that do make it, not all will become fertilized with your partner or donor sperm and develop into embryos.
A new calculator helps you determine your likelihood of a healthy baby using your thawed, frozen eggs. The younger you are when you donate your eggs, the greater are your odds of eventually having a baby from those eggs.
For instance, if you freeze 10 mature eggs at age 35, you have a 69% chance of at least one live birth. But if you wait for another year, your odds drop to 60%.If you delay donation until you’re 40, you only have a 30% chance of a live birth from 10 eggs once you’re ready to become pregnant.
You have to take fertility drugs
Normally, during each menstrual cycle you only mature one of the many eggs that your ovary releases. For egg freezing, though, you must take fertility drugs that encourage more of the eggs you release to develop to the mature stage.
When your eggs are “ripe,” we remove them with a special vacuum device and then immediately flash freeze them in the lab. Although the procedure is fast and pain-free (and doesn’t require surgery), you may be crampy and uncomfortable afterward. You might also spot.
The drugs themselves, too, can make you feel uncomfortable. You may be bloated, tired, have cramps, and spot.
You have to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) when you want a baby
If you’re going to use your young, frozen eggs when you’re older, you must undergo IVF to get pregnant, or use a surrogate to carry the child for you. That means your partner must donate his sperm, or you use an anonymous or known sperm donor.
The eggs are fertilized in the lab. After they form embryos, we then transfer one into your or your surrogate’s uterus in an in-office procedure.You can freeze the remaining embryos for later use, if you wish.
You may have to pay out of pocket
Freezing and keeping your eggs for years or even decades can be expensive. However, some companies now cover the expense of egg freezing.
Some women have side effects
For most women, the side effects from fertility drugs and the egg-retrieval process are mild. However, in rare cases, a woman may experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which includes symptoms such as:
- Blood clots
You might also bleed at the needle insertion site during the egg retrieval.
Egg freezing lets you relax
Even though nothing is guaranteed, freezing your eggs gives you an insurance policy that you can draw on when you’re ready to conceive. In fact, egg freezing may be your only option if you’re about to undergo chemotherapy or another procedure that could render you sterile.
If you’re young and healthy, egg freezing gives you the option of having a baby when it’s right for you. You choose when you’re ready to get pregnant, instead of being guided by that ominous ticking clock of diminishing fertility.
To freeze your eggs while they’re still healthy and plentiful, call us today at 949-706-2229 for a fertility evaluation or book an appointment on our website.