Ice, ice… baby? Freezing your eggs to extend your fertility is an option. Vitrification, or Egg Freezing is still a relatively new process, becoming no longer experimental in 2012. This is a phenomenal opportunity for someone who doesn’t want to abide by a timeline. However, before you decide to jump on the egg-freezing bandwagon, there a few things you should know.
Is Egg-Freezing Right for Me?
Only you can answer this question. Scientifically, it is the age of the egg that matters more than the woman that hosts the egg. Most women decide to go through with freezing their eggs because they want to be in charge of their own biological clock. It is very common as of late for women to focus on their career for many years before starting a family. Other women are either not in a relationship, or are in one but not ready for children. While they are keeping children in mind for the future, it might not be possible for them in the present. Other women that may want to consider cyropreservation are women with cancer, or who have a family history of endometriosis, early menopause, or ovarian failure.
How Does it Work?
You will be given a series of stimulation drugs that produce more than one egg at a time and keep the eggs in the ovaries (similar to in vitro fertilization). Your goal would be to produce as many eggs as possible for the best results when it comes time for them to thaw. They are then retrieved from your body while you are moderately sedated. They can be frozen until you are ready to be a mom, although most clinics limit the age they are willing to inseminate you to age 50. One women talked about how the entire process was truly lifechanging, but empowering.
What are the Chances of Success?
The data shows that the results of pregnancy are directly related to the quality of the egg (depends on age of the person and the underlying diagnosis). In other words, the younger you decide to harvest your eggs, the better your results will be when you are ready to get pregnant. As the process of freezing eggs gets refined over time, the chance of having a baby from those eggs will be greater and greater. As of now, most sources are saying about 70% of the time the process results in pregnancy.
What are the Risks?
There are some risks involved in the egg extracting process. The most serious one is that your ovaries will be enlarged, which puts possible tear (happens 1% of the time). The others are just minor side effects which could include: weight gain, bloating, and irritability (similar to your regular menstrual cycle symptoms). The risks to the baby are similar to any natural birth – they are typically not affected from the different method of conception.
What is the cost?
This process can be quite costly – it typically ranges from $8000-$12,000 with additional costs for the fertility medicine and the egg storage. It is not usually covered by insurance, but there are always some exceptions. Now that this procedure is becoming more popular and streamlined, I foresee the costs lowering over the next few years.
This path is one that would be costly, probably stressful, and technically not a sure thing. But holding that newborn baby in your arms, that you know came from you, is priceless. Will being a mother make you happy? Do you know that you want a baby eventually, but are worried you will be too old to conceive? Then this might be a solution for you!
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