Why Do People Freeze Their Eggs?
Fertility preservation has grown in popularity in recent years. This is thanks to increased awareness and improvement of the treatments available to people looking to manage their own fertility.
Egg freezing is one type of fertility preservation treatment for women to choose, as it allows them to decide when they want to have a family — not when their biological clock or society tells them.
Find out more about why people freeze their eggs here. We’ll also look at how the process works, and where you can get it done.
How does egg freezing work?
Egg freezing is the process of removing eggs from the ovaries and then freezing them so that they can be used at a date in the future. Eggs can now be frozen and stored for up to 55 years (the previous limit before July 2022 used to be 10 years), so you can decide when you want to have a family.
The process involves being injected with egg-stimulating medication for 2–3 weeks. This allows your body to boost the number of eggs produced and helps them to mature — ensuring that you’re freezing high-quality eggs.
Once your eggs are ready, they’ll be removed under sedation. An ultrasound probe is used to guide the process, in which a needle is inserted into the ovaries and attached to a suction device. This device then removes the eggs via the needle, ready for freezing.
The eggs are frozen via vitrification — a fast freezing process that prevents the eggs from being able to deteriorate once outside the body.
There are lots of different benefits to getting your eggs frozen, with the main one being you can choose when to have a baby, rather than be dictated to by your body.
Reasons to freeze your eggs
Freezing your eggs gives you the opportunity to protect your future fertility. There are so many reasons why people look to egg freezing as a treatment, and they can be broadly split into two categories — lifestyle and medical reasons.
There are plenty of non-medical reasons why women decide to freeze their eggs. They may not have a partner or have found the right partner to have a baby with. Their partner might not be ready, or they may have gone through an unexpected break-up with someone they were planning to start a family with. Some women may want to delay motherhood because they don’t feel pregnancy ready or it’s not the ‘right time’. Freezing their eggs allows them to wait until they are.
Other times, it can be related to a career. Workplace inflexibility can play a big factor, as can wanting to solidify your career before settling down.
Sometimes, they might simply be unsure if they want to have children — so freezing their eggs gives them the option when they decide.
Medical necessity can be a big reason why people freeze their eggs as well. Some underlying fertility conditions can make it hard to conceive naturally or they can deteriorate fertility over time. Freezing your eggs can be a safe and effective way to preserve fertility in the long run.
Some medical treatments (like the ones for cancer) can cause issues with fertility as well. However, if you’re able to freeze your eggs, you may be able to have a child once you’ve recovered.
A hysterectomy is a common procedure, as it can help ease certain medical conditions. As this means you won’t be able to carry a child yourself, freezing your eggs means you can use a surrogate and still have a biological child.
Gender diversity can play a role as to why you freeze your eggs as well. For example, if a transgender man decides to have hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery, then they may lose their ability to carry a child or fall pregnant. However, if they freeze their eggs, they can still consider having a biological child via a surrogate or their partner.
There are so many different reasons why someone would freeze their eggs, which shows just how personal a fertility journey can be.
Where can I freeze my eggs?
Many private fertility clinics offer egg freezing, and it is sometimes available on the NHS.
However, to receive the treatment via the NHS, you have to fit very strict criteria and it can differ depending on where you live in the UK. If you would like to freeze your eggs for lifestyle reasons (because you want to delay having a child for your own reasons), treatment on the NHS is not possible.
At IVF Matters, we understand that it can be challenging to navigate fertility issues and we offer egg freezing treatment to those who would want it. You can find out more on our egg freezing service page.
If you would like to learn more about fertility and egg freezing, you can sign up for our next IVF Matters webinar. There you’ll be able to find answers about IVF Matters and our fertility procedures, as well as ask any questions you may have about your fertility journey.Alternatively, you can contact our team of experts for a free advisory call to help you discover what fertility treatments may work for you and your body.