Dr. Jyoti Bali, Director, BabySoon Fertility and IVF Center
WHAT IS EGG FREEZING?
Egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation is a scientific breakthrough that helps women experience the miracle of birth even after crossing their most fertile age bracket that presents the highest chances of conception. Essentially, the process involves stimulating the ovaries, retrieving viable eggs and freezing them to be used months or years later. When women are ready to use them, these eggs are fertilized with the partner or donor’s sperm in a laboratory and transferred into a uterus (in-vitro fertilization) to achieve pregnancy.
Keeping this backdrop in mind, the following are some points that women should note before freezing their eggs:
REASONS FOR EGG FREEZING
There are several reasons why egg freezing is chosen as a backup plan or even preliminary plan for future pregnancies:
- Advancing age
- Low ovarian reserves
- Inability to find the right partner
- Career goals to be achieved
- History of premature menopause in the family
- Gender equality
Egg freezing gives women the freedom to balance their life with career-oriented goals and the time to plan their pregnancy.
MEDICAL REASONS FOR EGG FREEZING
Sometimes, women are advised to preserve their eggs for unavoidable medical reasons. Some of these include:
- Chemotherapy which can cause temporary or permanent infertility
- Certain haematological/autoimmune conditions
- BRCA 1/2 mutation, which causes an increased lifetime risk of certain cancers (breast//ovarian)
- Known history of primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) in the family
- Donor oocytes to help other women become pregnant with the help of healthy eggs
- Husband unable to provide sperm on the day of egg pickup
THE BEST AGE TO FREEZE YOUR EGGS
Viable eggs can be harvested at any fertile age. We recommend egg freezing before your 35th birthday. If required, women can freeze healthy eggs up to the age of 40.
ADVANTAGES OF EGG FREEZING
Studies suggest that the fertility rate in women peaks at the age of 24. At this point, she may become pregnant immediately, within one menstrual cycle. Between 25 and 25, there is a slight 10% decrease infertility. However beyond the age of 37, conception becomes difficult, and pregnancies become more susceptible to miscarriage. Fortunately, egg freezing can circumvent such issues, giving women the autonomy to become mothers at any age. The process has several other advantages as well:
- Chance to become pregnant for women without partners
- Avoids ethical and legal issues around embryo banking
- Option for delayed motherhood
- A method for oocyte donation
SUCCESS RATES FOR EGG FREEZING
Egg freezing has displayed highly favourable success rates for women who wish to give birth beyond the period of peak fertility. According to ASRM – SART data, the frozen eggs have 90-97% chances of survival with a 70-80% fertilization rate.
With egg freezing as an option, women can lead stress-free lives without worrying about the biological clock. With their eggs stored securely through scientifically-backed methods, they can take on the role of ‘mom’ whenever they’re ready.