Egg Freezing for Fertility Preservation
Egg freezing (clinically referred to as oocyte cryopreservation) is one form of fertility preservation. Originally, the concept of freezing eggs before a woman was ready to start a family originated as a fertility preservation treatment pubescent girls and women faced with a cancer diagnosis.
As success rates for IVF using frozen eggs continue to rise, fertility preservation is now a consideration for women without cancer, typically for women fearing their academic, career and/or life path jeopardizes their ability to get pregnant during the most fertile years.
If you feel you are a candidate for egg freezing, contact us here at Reproductive Resource Center and we’ll be happy to answer questions or schedule a consultation. It’s always best to get scenario-specific feedback since everyone’s story is a little different.
What does egg retrieval and freezing entail?
Regardless of your reasons for considering fertility preservation, the egg freezing process and ultimate goals remain the same – to preserve your genetic material so that you can enjoy the delivery of a healthy baby when you’re ready to start your family.
Eggs can be retrieved from any woman who is pubescent or has already started puberty. Just like their non-cancer counterparts, women take fertility medications – typically injectable meds – that stimulate the ovaries so they produce multiple, mature eggs at the same time.
Mature eggs are retrieved directly from the ovarian follicles during a simple office visit. The doctor will use ultrasound and a specialized needle that inserted through the cervix and into the ovary and follicles to retrieve all of the mature eggs visible on the ultrasound monitor. Once the retrieval process is complete, the eggs are frozen (cryopreserved) by our embryologist and stored securely until our patient is ready for them. Some women require or request multiple retrieval cycles.
How much does egg freezing cost?
Some insurance plans pay for all or a portion of the fertility medications. Modern and forward thinking healthcare plans may also pay for all or a certain portion of the retrieval and storage costs as well. Many women who electively choose egg freezing inadvertently find out they have a condition associated with infertility during their initial consultation. This can also increase the chances that a portion of the costs will be covered by insurance.
Each fertility clinic or egg bank has their own fee schedule for the egg retrieval and cryopreservation procedure, as well as annual storage fees. These fees may fluctuate a bit, depending on the diagnosis and/or treatment required.
Who is a candidate for egg freezing or fertility preservation?
Typically, candidates for fertility preservation are women who:
- Are faced with a cancer diagnosis that threatens fertility, or who require a cancer treatment that is linked to infertility.
- Have a medical condition that requires a medication or treatment known to cause infertility.
- Choose an academic and/or professional path that will prevent them from starting a family until there are 35-years or older.
- Are approaching age 35 and have yet to find their life partner, and who aren’t inclined to become a single mother via artificial insemination or other fertility treatment options.
While women choosing fertility preservation as the result of a medical diagnosis or treatment may not have a choice in the matter, others should pay attention to IVF success rates in varying age brackets. Egg quality diminishes with age so if you think IVF is a possibility down the road, it makes sense to retrieve eggs sooner – rather than later- so you benefit from improved success rates.
Contact RRC to schedule a consultation to determine whether or not egg freezing can help you make your mothering dreams a reality.
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Listen to Dr. Brabec's Fertility Health Tips
Last month, our own Dr. Celeste Brabec was interviewed for the HCA Midwest Health Talk Podcast, hosted by . The topic this week was proactive fertility health in an era when women/couples are waiting longer to start families. Dr. Brabec provides a range of important fertility health tips. Age Matters...