The role of fertility clinics is no longer confined to delivering effective treatment to infertile couples but it encompasses the function of preserving fertility too. As education and career have become vital aspects of the modern woman’s life, extending their fertility has become a key concern for those who want to postpone starting a family to later years. All the hype about female biological clock has created awareness too, which is the reason why women look for means to insure their fertility against time.
Egg freezing is the feasible answers to this requirement of women in their thirties, looking for ways to prolong their ability to bear children. Such females approach a fertility clinic with the aim to be tested and then get their fertility preserved, so that the risk to their future motherhood is covered effectively. Since they are going to invest a good deal of money and effort for the same, it becomes essential for them to learn more about the procedure.
Ovarian Reserve Testing- The First Milestone
Ovarian reserve refers to the ability of the ovaries to produce viable eggs which can be fertilized to become a healthy pregnancy. Nature has limited this reserve as every female is born with a fixed number of eggs. The number declines with the woman’s age and has a direct impact on her fertility. Ovarian reserve testing is based on a blood test called day 3 FSH test, which measures the level of FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) on the day 3 of the woman’s cycle. Currently, a more advanced test called AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) Test is used for this purpose. The latter is used in combination with transvaginal ultrasound for determining the number of antral follicles in the ovaries.
A woman who wants to opt for extending her fertility with egg freezing, has to start with having her ovarian reserve tested. In fact, it is necessary for those who are on the wrong of thirties as this is the time when the ovarian reserve starts ebbing. In case it is found to be low, it is better to take a decision regarding starting a family sooner than later. The other option is to go for egg freezing, which can take off stress from the woman’s mind and she can postpone pregnancy till she wants to.
Egg Freezing/Cryopreservation- The Fertility Insurance
The best time to plan egg freezing (cryopreservation) is in the early thirties because this is the time when a woman is still producing healthy eggs. As her age advances, the quality of eggs starts getting compromised. In fact, women should consider ovarian testing right in their late twenties if getting their eggs frozen is something they are very sure about.
Egg freezing has come up as a ground-breaking technology for women who want to focus on their career at present, yet do not want to give up on the dream of having a family of their own. The process called is not excessively expensive, does not involve surgery and is practically risk-free, if carried out by experts. Ovarian stimulation is the first step of egg freezing. It involves administration of fertility drugs to the woman, so that her ovaries can produce multiple eggs (as in IVF). These are then retrieved under mild sedation, the process being simple and risk free.
After the egg retrieval, the eggs are frozen using an advanced technique called vitrification, the ultra-rapid freezing (earlier slow freezing process was used). This process is better than slow freezing because it does not cause formation of ice crystals which can be damaging to the eggs as they are thawed. The vitrified eggs can be preserved for years and subsequently be thawed and fertilized when the woman wants to get pregnant.
How safe and successful is egg freezing?
Egg freezing is regarded as a relatively low-risk process, though some women may come across certain egg-stimulation and retrieval related complications such as ovarian hyperstimulation, infection, bloating, irritability and weight gain. The risk factor of these complications is however, very low.
As far as the success rate of the process is concerned, the chances of successful pregnancy with frozen eggs are almost as good as those with fresh ones. Also, the pregnancy is similar to that attained with other conception methods, with the quality of egg being the main parameter. For this reason, it is better for a woman to have her eggs frozen at a young age as this is the time when the egg quality is at its best.
It is not only the women who want to extend their fertility who can benefit from egg freezing; also, those at risk of premature ovarian failure, premature menopause and endometriosis can opt for the same. It is also recommended for cancer patients, whose fertility is likely to be compromised because of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Egg donation is a highly empowering process, which enables women to be in charge of their own fertility.
Gaudium IVF is a highly reputed infertility clinic, which brings the best services for its patients and gives them the right advice about the suitability of procedures such as egg donation in relation to their specific requirements.
For a free second opinion, contact Dr Manika Khanna, the award-winning fertility specialist at Gaudium IVF.