Today, more and more people are prioritizing their education, careers, and ambitions before they find themselves ready to settle down and start a family. Ambitions, goals, and achievements are important both in education and in career, but delayed family planning comes with one disadvantage – your fertility declines as you age. This means that an older person has a lesser quantity of eggs, which are poorer in quality when compared to that of a younger person. This is the reason that women are now exploring egg freezing – a way women are able to preserve their good quality eggs for the future so that they can start a family when they are truly ready. This procedure is gaining popularity amongst women who want to focus on their education, careers, and goals before they initiate the journey to motherhood. This helps them preserve their fertility, without having to neglect their education, career or goals.
What is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation is a method by which a female can preserve her eggs for later use. The eggs are harvested from the ovaries, frozen unfertilized, and stored. When the female is ready, these eggs can be fertilized with a sperm in the lab, and implanted through IVF. This allows females to preserve high quality eggs so that they can be used whenever she’s ready to start a family. It helps women progress in careers, education, and other areas of their life without constantly stressing about their fertility declining as they age.
This is utilized by people who want to keep their fertile eggs for later use. It can also be beneficial for people who have a condition that can affect their fertility, need treatment that can impact their fertility such as treatment for cancer, or need it for IVF treatment.
What is Egg Freezing Process?
Egg Freezing involves multiple steps so that good-quality eggs are available for freezing. It involves testing, ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and egg freezing.
To understand Egg Freezing better, let’s understand the steps –
Screening tests are necessary to see if you’ll benefit from the treatment.
They include –
- Ovarian Reserve Testing – This measures the quantity and quality of your eggs, along with the concentration of hormones such as Follicle Stimulating Hormone(FSH) and Estradiol in your blood on day 3 of the menstrual cycle. Anti-Mullerian Hormone(AMH) testing is also done with a pelvic ultrasound to determine Antral Follicle Count (AFC). AFC helps your doctor determine how many mature eggs might be available for egg retrieval. Ovarian Reserve Testing is important to understand how effective would fertility medications be on your ovaries.
- Blood Tests and Ultrasounds – These tests and imaging help your doctor understand the health of your ovarian function.
- Infectious Disease Screening – Diseases such as HIV, and Hepatitis B and C would be ruled out before starting the egg freezing procedure.
Testing ensures that the doctor can make a reliable estimate about how good is the Egg Freezing procedure for your requirements.
- Ovarian Stimulation
Like in IVF Treatment, Egg Freezing also requires you to undergo Ovarian Stimulation to produce multiple good-quality eggs. Usually, a female’s ovaries mature and release 1 egg in every menstrual cycle. Using this procedure, multiple good-quality eggs can mature that can be used for the egg-freezing process.
This procedure requires the administration of medications – both to stimulate the ovaries and also prevent premature ovulation. The medications are usually injections, which are to be administered either by you or by a nurse. The doctor monitors your hormone levels through blood tests and the development of follicles (fluid-filled sacks where the eggs mature) with the help of vaginal ultrasounds. After 10-14 days, an injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) to help the eggs mature is given once the follicles are ready for egg retrieval.
- Egg Retrieval
This method involves harvesting the follicles containing fluid and eggs from the ovaries. It is done with general anaesthesia and requires the help of a transvaginal ultrasound. A needle is guided into the follicles of the ovaries through the vagina. Multiple eggs are retrieved so that a larger number of eggs are available for freezing. This non-surgical procedure takes around 20 minutes, and an hour for recovery.
Some people experience cramping, pressure, and feeling of fullness after the treatment as the ovaries are enlarged.
- Egg Freezing
The eggs are cooled to subzero temperatures using different processes. A commonly used process of egg freezing is vitrification. The egg is rapidly cooled, and cryoprotectants or substances which prevent the formation of ice crystals during freezing are also used.
At Grace Fertility, the eggs are immediately transferred to the labs, sealed, accurately labeled, and then stored in cryotanks with liquid nitrogen till you are ready to use these frozen eggs.
The frozen eggs are preserved and can be used for an IVF cycle in the future when the couple is ready to have a baby.
When the frozen eggs are required for IVF treatment, they are thawed, fertilized with sperm in a lab, and implanted in the female’s uterus. One egg freezing cycle usually takes 2 weeks from when you started medications.
How Many Eggs Should You Freeze?
The number of eggs you should ideally freeze would depend upon your age, reproductive history, ovarian reserve, and family-building goals. Usually, the recommendation is to freeze 20 eggs, but a suggestion for this needs to be made for every individual after analysing their requirements. Discuss this with your doctor to know the ideal number of eggs you should freeze to suit your goals.
What is the Egg Freezing Cost in India?
A very important parameter to consider about Egg Freezing is the cost. Egg freezing helps you take charge of your decisions related to starting a family. While earlier women would often be pressurized to focus on planning a family while simultaneously focusing on their career, now Egg Freezing helps women have the option to store their eggs for future use as they build a career for themselves or explore their lives.
Egg freezing costs depend upon several factors such as the medications used, additional treatments, and the number of eggs frozen. In India, egg freezing cost is relatively cheaper than abroad. Egg Freezing may cost between INR 1,20,000 to INR 1,70,000. It is important to discuss the financial aspect of this procedure with your doctor, and check if your clinic offers financial assistance for it. Financial assistance can help you make this treatment affordable with the help of financing options.
It is important to choose a good IVF clinic for this procedure, as opposed to a cheaper IVF clinic, as the expertise of the doctors, the quality of labs, and the techniques they use would all impact the Egg Freezing procedure. It is possible to make treatment at a good IVF clinic affordable by availing financial assistance which helps you make Egg Freezing process affordable. Do your research well and ensure that you’re considering multiple parameters, and not just the cost of Egg Freezing when selecting a clinic for this procedure.
Egg Freezing Age Limit
As one ages, their fertility declines. Women in their 30s and 40s experience a sharp decrease in the quality and quantity of their eggs. This makes getting egg freezing treatment done sooner the better. Additionally, the risk of miscarriages, birth defects, difficulty in conceiving, and chromosomal abnormalities also increases if you plan to conceive once you’re older. This makes discussing the optimal age for egg freezing with your doctor a crucial part of the Egg Freezing procedure.
Grace Fertility Cares for Your Choices
At Grace Fertility, we respect and support your decisions. Women who make decisions related to egg freezing often consider multiple things when deciding to go ahead with this process, and our clinic ensures that they get all the support they need. Dr. Reubina, the founding MD of Grace Fertility Clinics herself underwent the Egg Freezing procedure when she had to go to Germany for her fellowship to progress in her medical career. Once back, she got married, used the frozen eggs for IVF treatment, and is now a mom to twin boys along with being a mompreneur. As a woman who has walked the path herself, she wants to create an inclusive, progressive and empowered healthcare space that supports women. The staff of Grace Fertility reflects these values and ensures each patient feels supported, cared for, and understood along with providing them with the best treatment.
The state-of-the-art labs, advanced technology, and latest techniques along with the experience and expertise of the doctors at Grace Fertility make it a trusted clinic in Delhi and Jammu. Grace Fertility Clinics also offer financial assistance to help you make this treatment affordable. The first consultation is free, so if you’re curious about Egg Freezing or want to know if it’ll be suitable for you, book a consultation. Our experts would help you understand the treatments at Grace Fertility and answer any questions you may have regarding any procedure. To know more, contact the team.