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Four Questions to Ask About Egg Freezing

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If you are considering egg freezing to preserve your fertility, but you’re still not sure it’s right for you, ask these four questions: Why freeze my eggs now?; How many eggs should I freeze?; Should I freeze my eggs or should I freeze embryos?; What if I don’t use all my frozen eggs?

Why freeze my eggs now?
There are two reasons to freeze your eggs now. One: the technology is available. Two: you’re not getting younger, and neither are your eggs.

“If someone said to me, ‘How can we think this process through?’ I’d say, ‘Egg freezing is available, it’s a better option now because of vitrification, more people are using the therapy and it’s working,’” says Dr. Alison Peck.

How many eggs should I freeze?
For the average woman in her 30s, 10 eggs is a good number to plan to freeze, says Peck, a fertility doctor with HRC fertility in Encino, CA.

“Not every egg will fertilize and become an embryo, and not all of those embryos will be good for transfer, physically or morphologically. So if you think you have 10 eggs and that means 10 babies, it’s not necessarily true,” she explains.

“We tell our patients that as long as the embryo thaws and survive, the rates are very good.” If you freeze 10 eggs at age 34, your success rates will be the success rates of a 34-year-old, regardless of how old you are when you decide to use the eggs.

Keep in mind that if your ovarian reserve is low, you may need more than one egg freezing cycle to produce 10 mature eggs.

Should I freeze my eggs or should I freeze embryos?
According to Peck, this is a commonly asked question. Statistically there’s a better track record with frozen embryos than frozen eggs, she says. “We have 30-plus years of documented frozen egg transfers, but not egg freezing.” If you choose to freeze embryos rather than eggs, those embryos will be created with your eggs and donor sperm if you don’t currently have a partner. When you are ready to use those embryos, and if you are in a relationship, your partner may not feel good using embryos he has no biological connection to. In that case, frozen eggs would be a better option; they can be thawed and fertilized with his sperm.

What if I don’t use all my frozen eggs?
Peck recently had a patient who wanted to freeze her eggs, and thought she might like to donate them if she ends up not using them. The screening for egg donation is different from the workup you’ll have for freezing your own eggs. So if you think you might want to donate any eggs you won’t use, you should get screened as an egg donor prior to freezing. It doesn’t mean you’ll have to donate your eggs, it just means you can if you want to.

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