While your plans for your future may include a family, now might not be the right time. Fertility preservation, which includes options like embryo or egg freezing, gives individuals the possibility of preserving their fertility for different family building options. Progyny recently held an Egg Freezing 101 Webinar that discussed the egg freezing process and organized the most frequently asked questions. We hope these tools help you better understand the egg freezing journey and empower you to make informed decisions. If you are a Progyny member, you can always reach out to your dedicated Patient Care Advocate and our team of Clinical Educators to learn more.
- Who is a good candidate for freezing eggs?
Anyone who is looking to preserve their fertility due to personal or medical reasons may be a good candidate for egg freezing. If you are thinking about it, it’s important to speak with a fertility specialist to understand your options. Some potential criteria and guidelines that clinics may follow and discuss with you on an individual basis may include limitations around Body Mass Index (BMI) and age, sufficient ovarian reserve, and ability to undergo a quick surgical procedure.
- Once I decide I want to pursue egg freezing, what is the first step I should take?
As a Progyny member, you have access to a Patient Care Advocate who can help you take your first steps in getting started, including understanding your benefits and finding the right clinic for you. We also recommend this excellent resource to help you understand, and prepare for, the egg freezing process in more detail.
- What is ovarian reserve and why does it matter?
Ovarian reserve is the quantity of a person’s eggs – information that can help inform next steps and your family building options. There are several tests that doctors may use to predict ovarian reserve, including FSH, AMH, and an ultrasound called an antral follicle count. Keep in mind that these tests serve as rough estimates of your egg supply and are not a predictor of egg quality or present/future fertility potential.
- How many eggs should I freeze?
This is a great question to ask your fertility specialist, as it is very individualized to your age, ovarian reserve, genetic testing, and response to stimulation medications. On average, 10-15 eggs are needed to produce one child, and 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. It is helpful to understand that during an egg freezing cycle, all mature eggs retrieved are frozen and each yield has a probability of future live birth based on several factors.
- Should I freeze eggs or embryos?
This will depend on your unique situation. If you have the option to freeze embryos, you may want to consider freezing both, as there are several advantages.
- What does the egg freezing process entail?
There are several steps to the egg freezing process, including the self-administration of medication at home, and an in-office retrieval procedure. We’ve broken down what you can expect in a step-by-step guide.
- Can you explain the medication and injection process?
Here is an overview of what medications you’ll need during each stage of treatment. The amount of medication needed, and the expected response, will vary between individuals and we recommend consulting with your fertility specialist to understand how that applies to your unique journey.
We also recommend you speak to your doctor about side effects. Common temporary side effects are bloating, breast tenderness, and some light cramping after the procedure. Most tolerate it very well and are back to normal within days.
- Are there any indicators that can help estimate the number of eggs that will be retrieved?
This is highly dependent on your age and your ovarian reserve. The fertility evaluation (typically as simple as a blood draw to look at some of your reproductive hormones, in addition to a transvaginal ultrasound), should give you insights into a rough estimate of the number of eggs you can expect. This is a great question to ask your doctor after they’ve completed your fertility workup.
Please also note that doctors may first have minimum egg yields in place in order to perform this egg freezing cycle. This amount differs per individual, and numbers may vary based on your test results, age, and medical history, however, three eggs is a common minimum. For individuals over 37, this number is likely higher since, statistically, egg quality declines with age.
- Does the egg freezing process change if there is another fertility treatment (i.e., an IVF cycle) directly after it?
We recommend speaking to your fertility specialist about your specific care plan, but likely the egg freezing process would not change even if there is another fertility treatment directly afterwards. Depending on what that follow up treatment would be, you may need time to recover from the egg freezing process before continuing, or you may be able to begin that next step right away. If you are planning to do IVF immediately after the egg freezing process, it may be wise to ask about fertilizing the eggs right away, rather than freezing eggs, to maximize the potential of egg survival and fertilization/embryo development.
- When eggs are retrieved, how do you determine the viability of eggs?
All mature eggs are frozen, and the live birth potential is mostly based on age. There is no test that can be done on eggs to determine their viability.
- How long can eggs or embryos be kept frozen?
We recommend you speak to your doctor, but most will say that, based on research, eggs, embryos, and sperm can be frozen indefinitely.
- How much does egg storage cost?
Storage costs will vary depending on the facility and typically range from $500 – $1200 per year. If you are a Progyny member, tissue storage is standardly included in the benefit for one year. Speak to your Progyny PCA to learn more about your specific benefit.
- Is it possible to move frozen eggs or embryos from one storage facility to another?
Yes, you can move frozen eggs or embryos and individuals may need to do this if they are using a different fertility clinic, moving, or using a surrogate. Some practices may recommend you return to the first practice to continue treatment and not all practices will accept frozen eggs or embryos from other clinics. You should speak to your storage facility or fertility clinic to learn more.
If you are a Progyny member, you may also have coverage for tissue transportation. Speak to your Progyny PCA to learn more.
- After you have your egg retrieval, can you try to conceive naturally?
We recommend you speak to a fertility specialist, but typically, yes. Eggs produced by your future menstrual cycles are not affected by the previously performed retrieval, and egg freezing does not usually affect your future fertility potential.
At Progyny, we want to ensure you have the tools you need to make informed decisions about your fertility and family building goals. If you are a Progyny member, contact your Patient Care Advocate for more information about egg freezing and your benefit. Progyny members also have access to our team of Clinical Educators, nurses and embryologists, who can help answer questions and provide additional information and resources for you. Contact them at email@example.com or their direct line at 844-399-6012 Monday-Friday 9 am-9 pm EST.
Please note this content is for informational purposes and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare provider about your specific journey.