Considering freezing your eggs to preserve your fertility but still not sure it’s right for you? You should ask your fertility specialist these questions.
#1: Why freeze my eggs now?
The short answer: Your egg quality declines with age.
The longer answers:
- Unlike men, who generate new sperm throughout their lives, women are born with their lifetime supply of eggs.
- As a woman ages, the number of remaining eggs decreases, with a sharp decline in egg quantity seen in the mid-to-late thirties.
- Along with egg quantity, egg quality also declines, which is why older women have a higher risk of producing chromosomally abnormal embryos.
- The younger you are when you freeze your eggs, the more likely you are to respond well to the medications and the higher number of eggs you’ll be able to retrieve and freeze.
- Freezing your eggs stops time! If you freeze your eggs when you’re 29 years old, you’ll have the same likelihood of success at 40 of conceiving with those frozen eggs as you would have had at 29.
#2: How many eggs should I freeze?
Answer: This depends on both the number of children you desire and the age at which you freeze your eggs. On average, 10-15 eggs are needed to produce one child. If you decide to freeze eggs after the age of 35, freezing more eggs might be recommended, due to the expected changes in egg quality.
Before starting the egg freezing process, keep in mind that:
- Not all eggs will survive the thaw process when you’re ready to use your eggs.
- Not all eggs retrieved will have the ability to create life.
- Not every sperm used to fertilize the eggs will have the ability to create life.
- Not every embryo will implant successfully.
Depending on your age, your ovarian reserve, and response to the stimulation medications, you may require multiple rounds of egg freezing in order to bank enough eggs.
Question 3: Should I freeze eggs or embryos?
Answer: If you have the option to freeze embryos, you may want to consider freezing both.
There are several advantages to freezing embryos, such as the fact that, unlike unfertilized eggs, they:
- Have higher tolerance to the freezing and thawing process (partially because embryos are larger and multi-celled, unlike a single-cell egg).
- Provide more information than eggs. For instance, we know if the egg fertilized and grew to the blastocyst stage. Additionally, embryos can undergo genetic testing to see if they are chromosomally normal.
Question 4: What if I don’t use all my frozen eggs?
Answer: If you respond well to the stimulating medications and produce more eggs than you will use, egg donation is a great option to consider.
Because egg donation screening is different from screening required before freezing your own eggs, it is recommended to get screened for both prior to freezing. If you decide to donate your eggs, this will make the process easier.