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Egg Freezing

What Is Egg Freezing?

Egg freezing is the freezing of a woman's eggs for use at a later date when she is ready to attempt to have a baby. It may be pursued for "elective" or medical reasons.

"Elective egg freezing" is often referred to as the freezing of eggs for "biological clock" or "social" reasons. Women who choose egg freezing for these reasons may be women who:

  • Are in their late twenties or older, do not currently have a man in their life with whom they intend to build a family but still hope to meet one, or they would be open to using a sperm donor should that not occur;
  • Are married, would like to have one or more children in the future, but feel that their marriage is at risk of ending in divorce before they have had a child, or all of the children they hope to have; or
  • Have chosen to delay having a child in order to pursue their education, a career, or other endeavours.

Egg freezing may also be pursued for medical reasons by women who:

  • Have been diagnosed with cancer and will require chemotherapy or radiation treatments that may render them infertile. If the woman is married or in a relationship with a man with whom she intends with certainty to build her family, her physician may suggest that the couple freeze embryos created with her eggs and his sperm prior to her cancer treatment.
  • Have a family history of ovarian cancer, and may be at risk of developing it in the future; and
  • Have a family history premature menopause, and whose ovarian function may therefore be at risk of diminishing at a young age.

The worlds of reproductive medicine and oncology have joined together to develop a term for egg freezing and embryo freezing in these circumstances called "oncofertility".

The Egg Freezing Process

In an egg freezing cycle the woman's ovaries are stimulated with fertility drugs (gonadotropins) to produce multiple follicles and her eggs are then retrieved from those follicles. Once the eggs are retrieved they are then frozen using a technique called vitrification and stored in liquid nitrogen where they are suspended in time and can last for decades and probably longer. When the women is ready to use her eggs they are thawed and combined in a laboratory with sperm to create embryos. One or two of the embryos are then transferred into her uterus.

Topics Covered When We Educate Our Clients About Egg Freezing

  • IVF (because women who will later use their frozen eggs to attempt to have a baby will do so via IVF);
  • Guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) regarding egg freezing;
  • Comparative analysis of world renowned, elite fertility clinics on the cutting edge that have extensive experience with egg freezing;
  • Optimal age range for egg freezing;
  • Tests fertility clinics conduct to determine if a woman is a good candidate for egg freezing;
  • Age limit cut-offs for egg freezing;
  • Comparative analysis of the best fertility clinics within your geographic area for egg freezing;
  • Choosing a doctor within a fertility clinic for egg freezing;
  • Questions to ask at an initial consultation with a fertility doctor about the clinic's track record with egg freezing;
  • Grant programs to cover or offset the cost of egg freezing for medical reasons;
  • Programs to finance the cost of egg freezing for medical reasons;
  • Discount programs to reduce the costs of egg freezing for medical reasons;
  • Drug company and other programs to finance or reduce the cost of medications used in egg freezing for medical reasons; and
  • Psychologists, social workers and therapists who specialize in supporting women considering egg freezing and as they go through the process.
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