Egg freezing has increasingly become a social choice for many women.
Women are now more aware of their own biological clock and want to give themselves the best chance to have a child later in life with their own biological eggs. Women are taking matters into their own hands. They’re no longer at the whim of a man’s indecisiveness. Women are feeling empowered at being able to exercise a degree of control over their own fertility, even if life circumstances prove a challenge to starting a family when they may want.
What are the facts about egg freezing and when should you do it?
Egg freezing involves the same principles as IVF, your ovaries are stimulated with injections that will make them produce several eggs in one go. When these eggs are mature, they are collected via a short operative procedure that involves using a needle into the vagina and then the ovaries, to aspirate and collect all of the eggs. These eggs are then frozen and preserved for use later on, when they are thawed, fertilised and used to create embryos that can then be used for implantation.
The duration of stimulation varies depending on your response. It’s different for everyone, but on average the process takes between a few days to two weeks. During this time you are monitored with blood tests and scans and encouraged to keep well hydrated, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding over-vigorous exercise due to the ovaries swelling in size.
Eggs are only allowed to be frozen for ten years
Current law in the UK only allows a woman to store her frozen eggs for a maximum of 10 years, unless there is evidence that a woman is at risk of premature menopause, for example, due to cancer. In this case, eggs can be frozen up to the age of 55.
There is a campaign to try and extend the egg freezing limit for all women, in particular as women are likelier to have egg freezing when younger to optimise their chance of success, but at the moment, if a woman freezes eggs in her mid-twenties, her egg storage limit would expire by her mid-thirties, yet not all women will necessarily want to have children by that age.
Egg freezing is expensive
Egg collection and freezing is expensive and costs between £3000 to £5000 in the UK. Storage costs are extra, around £150 to £400 a year. As all women have different ovarian reserves and are of a different age when undergoing the procedure, some may need more than one round of ovarian stimulation. This is enable the collection of enough eggs to be able to give themselves a decent chance of conception. On average, we estimate that having 15 eggs for storage should allow a good chance but, again, it must be stressed that this number will vary depending on age.
As well as being expensive, the process of egg freezing and IVF can often be emotionally and physically challenging so it’s important to consider confiding in someone you trust to help support you in this process.
Take the pressure off by preserving your fertility
Feeling that you’ve done what you could to help preserve your fertility can suddenly take a lot of pressure off. It can be very empowering, giving you a new perspective and a positive attitude to the future. It can often be a great time to start a relationship, where you can focus your attention on whether this person is right for you, rather than how soon you need to start having a family.