If you are considering freezing your eggs, you are not alone. Since 2009, the number of women freezing eggs has multiplied 23 times. The covid-19 pandemic has put many lives on hold, the opportunity to meet ‘the one’ has dwindled leading to an increasing number of women researching egg freezing. Many clinics have reported up to a 50% rise in inquiries. There’s a lot of information out there on egg freezing and many conflicting opinions. But look no further! I am here to fill you in on the important facts to consider and the cost of egg freezing.
What is Egg Freezing
Before we get started, let’s explain what egg freezing is and what the process involves. Egg freezing is a fertility treatment that preserves your eggs for later use. The quality and number of eggs a woman produces declines with age, drastically reducing the chances of conceiving naturally as you get older. Egg freezing is a way to preserve your fertility at your peak years, by collecting high-quality eggs that can be used to try and become pregnant at a later date.
What does the egg freezing process involve?
The process of collecting and harvesting your egg is not to be taken lightly. It is a timely process that involves multiple tests, taking medication, and multiple doctors and nurse appointments. Let’s outline the steps involved.
The process will commence by consulting with a doctor and/or fertility specialist.
Blood tests are performed to access your overall health and hormone levels. Your AMH levels are evaluated to see how likely you are to respond to medication. A pelvic ultrasound is performed to check your antral follicle count.
The ovarian Stimulation process lasts approximately 9 – 14 days. It involves self-injecting medication to stimulate the development of multiple eggs.
The effects of the stimulation are monitored by several pelvic ultrasounds to assess the progress.
Once hormone levels are correct, a further injection is given to make the eggs mature.
– Egg collection
The egg retrieval process is performed in a hospital or clinic. The procedure is performed under light sedation and lasts approximately 45 mins to 2 hours.
– Egg freezing
The eggs are then treated and frozen on the same day as collection.
Most report the egg freezing process to be virtually painless. However, it can be a tiring and demanding process that can interfere with day-to-day life. It is common to experience uncomfortable bloating, tiredness, and mood swings following the procedure.
What are the benefits of egg freezing?
– Egg freezing, provides women with the possibility of having a child at an older age.
– The process allows the quality of your eggs at the age they were frozen to be preserved.
– It allows women who may need to put off childbearing due to medical concerns. Medical concerns could include those receiving medical treatment that could cause damage to the ovaries such as chemotherapy.
– It allows you to focus on your career and or relationship, without rushing into motherhood due to the pressure of your biological clock.
– Freezing your eggs can be a weight lifted off your shoulders, offering peace of mind.
Drawbacks & Risks of Egg Freezing
– Egg freezing has no guarantee, it’s not an insurance policy.
– Egg survival rates can be low, particularly for older age groups. The age that the eggs are frozen has a significant impact on egg survival rate and the chances of a successful birth.
– The process can be intense, physically demanding, and take an emotional toll.
– The medication used has side effects including headaches, mood swings, breast tenderness and PMS-like symptoms.
– Due to declining egg quality age, is not always suitable for older women. Some clinics recommend the treatment as suitable for women under 38.
– Some countries have laws and restrictions on how long eggs can remain frozen and on how many eggs can be collected. Israel has an age restriction of 30 – 41, and a maximum egg collection of 20 eggs, or 4 cycles, whichever is reached first. At present, the UK has a 10-year limit for how long the eggs can remain frozen. However, it is currently being reviewed and it’s expected to be increased to 12 years due to the covid-19 pandemic.
– Often one cycle of egg freezing doesn’t produce enough eggs, meaning multiple cycles will be needed – increasing the cost.
The Costs of egg-freezing
The cost of egg freezing can differ depending on your location. The costs are made up of three elements.
In the UK, the medication costs can vary from £500 – £1500, On average a single cycle can cost £3500 – £6000, and the annual storage fees can be £150 – £300.
In the USA, prices vary by location, the total costs can vary from $6000 – $15000. In Europe, Greece and Spain are popular choices due to the lower prices, prices can range from 2500 euros to 5000 euros.
Egg freezing has emerged and experiences technological improvements over the years, making the treatment a viable option for many. In the US, 10% of large companies offer egg freezing as a perk, with the potential to reach 1.4 million people. However, the majority of women who freeze eggs, don’t end up using them. As the sector continues to make technological improvements, it is expected that the success rates will improve. Egg freezing could be a great way for you to preserve your fertility until you are ready to have children.