Over the course of my practice I have treated thousands of infertile women, and the one major change that has been evident over the years is that a number of women now come into our clinic to ask about personal reproductive insurance. Fertility preservation has become a major area of concern today, because many women are aware of the concept of reproductive aging . This is a topic that impacts all women, but it’s rarely discussed openly.
About Egg Production
Every woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have; when I tell my patients this in the course of their consultation, many of them are genuinely shocked. Men are able to produce new and viable sperm right through their life ;by contrast, a woman’s eggs start aging even before birth , and this process of depletion continues until they are finally exhausted at menopause.
Today a number of career-minded women put off motherhood and the fact that they have a depleting egg count can be downright terrifying to them. But that’s not how it needs to be. Modern day reproductive technologies have made possible various options that enable women to have children much later in their life. The key lies in knowing your options, so you can exercise them intelligently.
The Effective and Simple Procedure
Egg freezing is now one of the simplest ways in which a woman can radically slow-down her biological clock; this option is one I recommend to young women who are concerned about their fertility.
I get a lot of questions about egg freezing and this prompted me to post this FAQ’s page on egg freezing. Hopefully this information will answer most of the questions you have about the procedure:
Q: At what age should I freeze my eggs?
A. Its best to freeze your eggs when you are in your 20’s & 30’s. This is because younger eggs are of better quality, which means they will withstand the freeze and thaw procedure better. They also have a much better chance of fertilizing, because their mitochondrial energy levels are higher, which means they provide you a better chance of having a baby.
Q. Exactly how is egg freezing done?
A. The egg freezing process isn’t all that complex. Once you qualify as a candidate for egg freezing, we will then plan a cycle around your menstrual cycle. As soon as it begins, we begin administering fertility hormones. These are in the form of daily injections and you are required to take them for about 10 days , after which your eggs will be extracted at the clinic. The 30 minute procedure is done under light sedation, is quick and painless. Your eggs are then frozen by the embryologist in the IVF lab, using a flash freezing
( vitrification) protocol. Survival rates are nearly 100%.
Q. Will freezing my eggs now make me run out of them later?
A. This is a misconception, and a very common one at that. This is because we are only freezing the eggs which you would otherwise have lost. Typically, only one egg gets ovulated each month, but 30-40 follicles start the maturation process. These normally die every month, because they undergo atresia. With the fertility hormone treatment, we are effectively disrupting this loss , which means we are saving those eggs which would have died under natural circumstances. You also need to keep in mind that the hormonal injections we use are natural hormones, which get excreted promptly, and don’t have any long-term side effects.
Q. Is egg freezing covered by insurance?
A. Indian insurance companies don’t cover ART procedures (egg freezing included). But interestingly, companies such as Apple and Facebook are covering egg freezing costs for their employees. It’s more of a retention incentive, but the women benefit too as egg freezing isn’t inexpensive !
Q: How long will my frozen eggs last?
A. Theoretically, for ever ! The eggs are frozen at -196, which means they are in a state of suspended animation , and will remain here until we thaw them, because all their metabolic activity has been stopped at this low temperature. The technology has been used for over a decade now and there are healthy children from eggs which have been frozen for 5-9 years.
Q. Are babies that have been created using frozen eggs as healthy as all other babies?
A. Regardless of whether IVF babies have been created using fresh or frozen eggs ( or frozen sperm or embryos for that matter) , they are as healthy as any babies that have been born naturally.
I know that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to questions about egg freezing , but these are the basics; maybe we can tackle a few more in another post soon.
Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you better!