What is egg freezing?
Egg freezing is a fairly new treatment option for women who want to preserve their fertility for the future. Dr Iris Wang is an egg freezing specialist. If you decide to go through with egg freezing, your eggs will be collected in an IVF cycle and frozen, so they can be stored for use in the future – sometimes for many years.
When you are ready to use your eggs, they will be thawed and fertilised with sperm. The fertilised eggs should develop into embryos, which are then transferred to your uterus and left to implant and develop a pregnancy.
Egg freezing is a viable option for women who are going to start chemotherapy or radiotherapy. These treatments can cause infertility, so acting now – before you start treatment – can give you a good chance of having a baby in the future.
For cancer patients, completing the egg freezing process quickly is crucial. Iris will prioritise your needs and give you appointments for consults and treatment as early as possible, so that the maximum number of eggs can be collected and frozen, and you can start your cancer treatment.
Egg freezing is also an option for women who want to have children in the future, but are not ready right now. You may not have found the right partner yet, or you might be pursuing your career. Age is a big factor in the decline of your eggs, and egg freezing can help you preserve their quality for the future.
Common queries about egg freezing
There is no formal age limit for women who want to freeze their eggs, but ideally you will be in your late 20s or early 30s – you are emotionally mature enough to make the decision, and the quality of your eggs is still good. As you approach 40 your eggs age and decline in quality. Sadly, older eggs are considerably less likely to be fertilised and result in a pregnancy. Egg freezing specialists cannot overcome the natural age-related decline in egg quality; your eggs can only be used as they are.
Egg freezing is still a relatively new specialist procedure, and there is no definitive answer to this. We can store eggs for as long as need be, but most people will use them within five years. Keep in mind that while you can freeze your eggs for long periods to preserve their quality, your body will of course keep ageing. Pregnant women over 40 are more likely to experience pregnancy-related diabetes, miscarriage, and difficult labours.
For more information about egg freezing, see the IVFAustralia website.