Fertility Preservation and Egg Freezing
Fertility preservation and egg freezing is becoming more popular as freezing techniques improve and more women are aware of the effects of advancing age on fertility. By having eggs collected and frozen, a woman can preserve eggs from her younger years and use them in the future. The ability of the eggs to form a normal embryo is tied to a woman’s age at the time the eggs are collected, not when they are used. In short, a woman can donate eggs to herself in the future. If a woman age 34 was to freeze her eggs, she could return at any age in the future and attempt pregnancy with eggs from age 34. Even if she was to save the eggs until age 45 or 50, she would have eggs from age 34.
Egg freezing can be used in multiple scenarios. Women facing cancer treatments are able to have eggs collected with 2-3 weeks of medications. This helps protect against the potential loss of eggs from chemotherapy or radiation. Additionally, cancer treatments may take many years to complete and advancing age will also take a toll on her fertility potential.
Fertility preservation with egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, can also be used to delay child bearing for school, or even in cases where a woman hasn’t met the right reproductive partner. Freezing eggs can relieve some of the stress of the biologic clock and preserve her fertility for later years. Even women who ultimately conceive with a partner can benefit from frozen eggs. By keeping the eggs frozen, she can enjoy natural conception with the security of having eggs stored for later in life. In the event of an unexpected divorce, frozen eggs can give many women in their later years the option of conceiving again. Even with the same partner, women desiring to have a baby at age 40, would have the option of using her stored eggs with a higher chance of success and a much lower risk of an abnormal pregnancy.