Now more than ever, women are choosing to have children later in life. Fortunately, fertility preservation, or egg freezing, is making it easier for women to have the potential to take control of their biological clocks and start a family on their own timeline. Learn more about egg freezing and get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.
What is egg freezing?
Egg freezing is a method of fertility preservation where women can cryopreserve (or freeze) their eggs for use in the future. This allows women to harvest and save their eggs at their most optimal fertile window without the worry of fertility struggles down the road.
Who is a candidate?
Peak reproductive ages are between 25-35, generally speaking. You are eligible as long as your fertility testing supports proceeding with an IVF cycle. There are a variety of personal reasons that may inspire a woman to freeze her eggs. This could be to focus on career aspirations, financial goals, or even due to certain health diagnoses (like an unfortunate cancer diagnosis) that could impact fertility.
What is the egg freezing process?
All fertility treatments begin with testing. This includes a transvaginal ultrasound, bloodwork, and uterine evaluation (typically a hysteroscopy), to ensure you’re an ideal candidate. Once your workup is complete, you will go through the steps of an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycle to retrieve eggs to freeze.
This involves taking injectable medications to increase follicular growth and the number of retrievable eggs. During this phase of the IVF cycle, you are closely monitored to ensure that no medication adjustments need to be made and your egg retrieval is scheduled at the appropriate time. Once an ideal number of follicles have reached mature size, you can plan an egg retrieval at your fertility specialist’s office. All eggs that are retrieved are then cryopreserved and stored on-site until you’re ready to get pregnant in the future.
Does insurance cover egg freezing?
While insurance coverage for fertility services has expanded in recent years, typically egg freezing is still seen as an elective procedure. Most women can expect to pay between $10,000 – $15,000 with the cost of medications. Fortunately, the ongoing storage costs for eggs to remain safely preserved are relatively inexpensive and many insurance companies cover the testing or consultations leading up to your egg freezing cycle.
How long can you freeze your eggs for?
Eggs can be safely frozen for decades! Once eggs are thawed, they can be fertilized with sperm of your partner or a sperm donor to create an embryo. Embryos are then transferred directly into the uterus in a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycle.
Can you also freeze embryos?
Yes! Embryos are often frozen in standard IVF cycles, where couples experiencing infertility choose to preserve “extra” embryos for future use, after achieving pregnancy. In some cases, couples choose to preserve embryos from the start, allowing them both to achieve the peace of mind that viable embryos are available for use when they’re ready to grow their family.
If you’re interested in egg freezing, or want to learn more, contact our team of board-certified experts at South Jersey Fertility Center.