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Step-by-Step: What to Expect When You Choose to Freeze Your Eggs

Step-by-Step: What to Expect When You Choose to Freeze Your Eggs

Egg freezing is a procedure that extends your fertility for 10 years or more. Instead of feeling pressured to decide when to start your family based solely on biology, you get to make those decisions when you’re financially and emotionally ready.

The sooner you freeze your eggs, the better your chances are for a healthy baby in the future. Your eggs dwindle both in number and in quality as you age. You may also need to freeze your eggs if you’re about to undergo chemotherapy or other treatments for cancer. 

When you’re ready to freeze your eggs, you may wonder exactly what is involved. At OC Fertility in Newport Beach, California, expert OB/GYNs Sharon Moayeri, MD, Nidhee Sachdev, MD, and our team want you to know what to expect so you can prepare yourself both physically and emotionally.

First, you undergo an evaluation

Before you freeze your eggs, we make sure that you’re a good candidate. You begin to lose eggs from the time you’re born. By age 37, the loss accelerates. In addition, by the time you’re 43, 90% of your eggs are probably abnormal and can’t become a healthy baby.

Ideally, you should be under age 40 to freeze your eggs. We conduct a thorough examination. We also determine your ovarian reserves to be sure you have enough eggs to make egg freezing worthwhile.

Second, you take fertility drugs

Normally, a woman only releases a single mature egg per menstrual cycle. Obviously, collecting and freezing one egg wouldn’t give you a good chance of having a baby one day.

You must take 2-3 hormonal fertility drugs that stimulate your ovaries to release multiple eggs. You inject these medications every day for 10-12 days. Ideally, you will produce at least 10-20 eggs during your cycle. 

Third, we evaluate your egg development

In addition to your daily hormone injections, you must come in for evaluations. During that 10- to 12-day period, we conduct anywhere from 4-6 pelvic ultrasounds and blood work. 

During these evaluations, we look at your egg follicles to determine when they’re ready to release mature eggs. The egg is probably mature when a follicle (i.e., the case containing an egg) is more than 14 mm.

Fourth, we give you a “trigger” shot

A trigger shot is another type of hormonal injection that helps the eggs finalize the maturation process. You give yourself the injection 36 hours before your retrieval. 

Fifth, we retrieve your eggs

Once you have a sufficient number of mature eggs, we retrieve them. On the day of your retrieval, you stay awake for your procedure. However, we do give you a sedative to keep you calm and pain-free. 

You lie back on the treatment table with your feet in the stirrups. We then insert a thin needle through your vagina to reach your ovaries. We use ultrasound images to guide the needle to the mature eggs.

The needle includes a suction device. We gently remove each egg. You may feel a little crampy and experience spotting after egg retrieval.

Sixth, we prepare your eggs

After we suction out the mature eggs, they undergo a flash-freezing process called vitrification. We then store your eggs in liquid nitrogen tanks. They’re stored in an embryology lab and monitored 24 hours a day to ensure the ideal temperature is maintained.

When you're ready to use your eggs, we then thaw some of them and fertilize them with your partner’s sperm. After healthy embryos develop, we implant a healthy one (or more) in your uterus.

Your insurance may cover some or all of the costs of egg freezing. Insurance is usually available if you’re freezing your eggs because of a cancer diagnosis or other health condition. 

Are you ready to invest in your fertility? Find out more about egg freezing by calling us today at 949-706-2229 or booking an appointment online.

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