In 2018, the New York Times reported more than 20,000 American women elected to freeze their eggs. This number has risen sharply since 2009, when there were only 475 women freezing their eggs. The process of egg freezing involves stimulating the ovaries with hormones to produce multiple eggs. Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved from the ovaries, taken to the lab and cooled to sub-zero temperatures. Frozen eggs can be stored for over 10 years, until you’re ready to start a family.
Egg freezing has become a popular fertility choice among women for many different reasons (relationships, career, finances, etc.). But the desired outcome is the same: to increase their chances of becoming pregnant later in life.
What you need to know about egg freezing
If you’re considering cryopreservation, or egg freezing, here are a few things you need to know:
- The timing – Generally, fertility begins to decline in your late 20s or early 30s and falls more rapidly after the age of 35. Consider freezing your eggs sooner rather than later, to ensure you are giving your future self the best chance at having a baby.
- The process – Egg freezing typically involves 8-11 days of hormone injections to stimulate your ovaries, 5-7 doctor appointments, blood draws and transvaginal ultrasound exams.
- The medications – The specialized hormone medications will not be available at your local pharmacy. Instead, your reproductive endocrinologist will recommend a pharmacy that specializes in medications for egg freezing and other fertility treatments.
- The procedure – Once your eggs are mature, you will be placed under mild anesthesia so your physician can retrieve them during a brief 10-15 minute surgical procedure. Using ultrasound guidance, a needle is inserted through the vaginal wall into each ovary. The needle is attached to a catheter that’s connected to a test tube.
- The egg freezing – Once the eggs are successfully retrieved, your physician will hand them over to a skilled embryologist who, using a fast-freezing method called vitrification, will transform the eggs into a glass-like frozen state and store them in a liquid nitrogen storage chamber until they’re needed.
To schedule an appointment or learn more about how Reproductive Gynecology & Infertility specializes in egg freezing in Akron, Canton, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio, call 866-537-2461 today.