You or your friends may have made comments about freezing your eggs because you feel like you will be imminently single, or “married to your career.” While it may be a joke, social egg freezing is providing a new opportunity for empowerment to women to take control of their reproductive health and future- with some caveats.
What is social egg freezing? Social egg freezing is the process of stimulating the ovaries with medications to help multiple eggs grow and become mature enough to be retrieved during a procedure. At this point, the eggs are then frozen through a flash-freezing process known as vitrification. Generally, success rates are higher the younger you are when this procedure is done (ideally would be mid-twenties, but we understand that this isn’t something we often can consider or afford at this age) – with lower success rates for women who opt to freeze their eggs in their mid-thirties and beyond.
If interested, you would be referred to a fertility specialist
It will require out-of-pocket payment, it can sometimes covered by private insurance or employers.
Stimulation (the process to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs) can take 8-14 days itself and involves daily self-administered injections.
Stimulation cycles are often done multiple times to freeze many eggs, as roughly ten frozen eggs can equal approximately 40% success rate.
You have control over your body, and the idea of being fixed to a timeline can go out the window. There's expiry date on frozen eggs! However, it would be remiss to point out the more advanced maternal age, the higher risk of complications in pregnancy for both mom and baby.
There is a risk for hyperstimulation syndrome – for the majority this is treatable, but if untreated or severe can make you very, very sick. (Sorry to end on a downer, we promise we're not WebMD!)
Enjoyed this? Come join the Reproductive Health Space in Diem. Download here.