The Benefits Of Freezing Your Eggs
Many people are now choosing to start a family later on in life, but this can pose problems with fertility if you don’t prepare beforehand. Freezing your eggs is one of the ways that you can do just that as it allows you to preserve your fertility for when the time is right for you.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the benefits of freezing your eggs, what it is exactly, and why more women are choosing to do it. Discover all this and more right here at IVF Matters.
What is egg freezing?
Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, is a method of fertility preservation. During this treatment, eggs are harvested from the ovaries and frozen so that they can be thawed and fertilised in the future. Typically, women will freeze their eggs at a younger age, as this is when the eggs will be of the highest quality.
The process of egg freezing itself normally involves using medication to increase your egg production, and then when they’re mature enough, they’ll be extracted. You’ll most likely be sedated or put under general anaesthesia so that you don’t feel any discomfort.
Once the eggs are removed, they’ll then be frozen and stored safely until you’re ready to fertilise them.
Why do women freeze their eggs?
There are a lot of reasons why women choose to freeze their eggs. It could be because they are at a point in their life where they aren’t ready to have a family yet, but their eggs are at their highest quality. Freezing these healthy eggs for use when you are ready can enable you to have a successful fertility journey later on in life.
Women may also freeze their eggs because they don’t have a partner yet — or if they do, their partner might not be ready to have children. Some women may want to focus on their careers before starting a family. Freezing your eggs gives you this time.
There are also medical reasons why a woman may freeze her eggs as well. For instance, some conditions can make it hard for you to fall pregnant or the treatment you require now might affect your fertility afterwards.
If you freeze your eggs, you can take your fertility into your own hands, and still look forward to having a baby in the future.
The benefits of freezing your eggs
There’s a growing interest in egg freezing as more women become aware that they can preserve their future fertility and the benefits this treatment holds.
Preserving egg quality
As a woman gets older, the quality and quantity of eggs naturally declines — leading to problems with fertility.
However, if you freeze your eggs while you’re young enough that they’re high in both quality and quantity, then you’ll be able to use these eggs in the future. So, when you’re in your later thirties or early forties, you can use eggs from your twenties or early thirties to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.
If you were to try to get pregnant either naturally or with fertility treatments when your eggs aren’t at their peak, you might struggle to fall pregnant. But by using your previously frozen eggs from when they were at the highest quality, the likelihood of a successful outcome increases.
Protecting your eggs
As we’ve mentioned, some women will want to freeze their eggs when they develop a health condition that could threaten their ability to reproduce or affect the quality of their eggs.
Endometriosis is one such health condition that may lower your chances of getting pregnant naturally. Certain cancers and their treatments can also affect fertility. Freezing your eggs before undergoing treatment could help you with your fertility journey after treatment.
If you freeze your eggs, you’ll be able to protect them from your condition or treatment and then use them in the future when you want to have a baby. It also gives you the chance to have a child if you are unable to carry one yourself, as a surrogate may be used.
Giving you more time
Not all women will want to have children when their eggs are at their peak. Freezing your eggs can give you the time and space you need to make this important decision — relieving pressure and allowing you to be in control.
Freezing your eggs also gives you the time to find the right partner who you want to start a family with. This is why more and more single women are now looking into freezing their eggs.
It also means that you can achieve your career aspirations and other life goals without worrying about starting a family getting in the way. If any of these reasons resonate with you, freezing your eggs may be worth considering.
Is freezing your eggs safe?
Egg freezing is a relatively safe procedure, and it doesn’t damage your chances of having a natural birth in the future.
However, as with any medical procedure, there are a few risks associated with it.
- Reactions to fertility medications (including hormones) – sometimes your ovaries can become swollen and painful in response to the egg-stimulating hormones. This is known as Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Signs of this can range from nausea and stomach pain to vomiting and diarrhoea. If it’s left untreated, there is a rare possibility that it could develop into a severe (potentially life-threatening) illness.
- Egg retrieval complications – on rare occasions, the needle can cause bleeding and possible damage to the bowel or bladder, leading to infection.
- Impact on emotional wellbeing – it’s worth noting that just because you freeze your eggs, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to fall pregnant in the future. There isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to have a child, but it does improve your chances.
As with any pregnancy, there is a risk of miscarriage when using frozen eggs too. The risk of miscarriage will be mostly based on your age at the time your eggs were frozen (and the older your eggs are). This is why freezing your eggs when you are younger could be more beneficial.
Freezing your eggs can be a positive way to take control of your biological clock and to safeguard your ability to have children when you are older. You can then choose to have a family when you’re ready, not when your body tells you to. Egg freezing can be empowering for women.
If you’re interested in freezing your eggs or any other fertility treatment, get in touch with our friendly team at IVF Matters. Our fertility experts will be more than happy to speak to you and help guide you on your fertility journey.