Egg Freezing

Hi, everyone. Let’s have a chat today about egg freezing, who should be thinking about egg freezing. What goes into the process of egg freezing? What are some of the things you should be concerned about or questions you should be asking your doctor and what exactly is an egg? Let’s start off with that.

So, let’s start off with this simple picture again. So, what you can see here is the ovary, that contains all of the eggs that are ovulated and then collected by the tubes. You can check out our tube video, if you want to know more about that. The amount of eggs in each ovary has already been determined by the time you are born. As we age, and as we go through our menstrual cycles, when we get older, we continuously lose eggs. Sometimes we lose them at a faster rate, sometimes we lose them at a slower rate. This is the diagram that you often see. I chose a little egg developing inside of what we call a follicle and as it grows and grows and grows, and eventually ovulates. This picture might give you the impression that you only grow one egg every month, but this is not the case. You might only ovulate one egg, but several eggs are recruited every single month with every menstrual cycle.

So, for example, when you were younger, you might recruit 20 eggs in that cycle. They all start to grow and the majority of those will die out. The strongest egg will continue to grow, and you will ovulate that egg. That number of eggs that you actually recruit every month will decrease as you age and for example, when you’re 30, you might be recruiting 15 eggs. When you were 35, you might be recruiting seven or eight eggs. When you’re 40, you might only be recruiting one or two eggs. Now this number varies dramatically between different women. This whole concept of how many eggs are in the ovary is termed your ovarian reserve or your egg reserve as it is commonly referred to.

As we age, our egg reserve will decline, unfortunately and that means the number of eggs that you recruit every month will also decline. This is a very important concept when we are talking about freezing eggs or IVF in general. A second very important concept to understand is the difference between an egg and an embryo. What you can see in this picture, the very top is obviously a little sperm and right below that is an egg. When you’ve actually combined that egg and that sperm. One of the procedures that we might do is something called ICS, where we actually inject the egg with sperm then you form an embryo.

So, this is an embryo, you might not be able to tell much of a difference between the egg and the embryo, that’s completely fine. But the important concept is this at the top is the egg. If it’s only the woman’s genetics, this at the bottom, over here as an embryo. So, this is when the sperm and the egg have combined, a little egg has been fertilized as that is now referred to as an embryo. Embryos go through different stages, and after this point of fertilization, the cells will start to divide. Embryo start to look a little bit different. But we will run through this at a later stage. It’s just very important to remember that the embryo is not the same as the egg. Egg is only the woman’s genetic material; the embryo is combined.

So now that we all know where the eggs come from, that you’re born with a certain amount of eggs and the number of eggs would decrease as we age. And they decrease at a different rate in different women. And that way of testing that is called an egg reserve test or an AMH blood test, or an antral follicle count. Is all different ways that we test them, and I’ll run through them later. Now we know that concept and we know that an egg and an embryo are two very different things. This may be [ inaudible 03:44] about some of the reasons why you might freeze your eggs.
The first real need for freezing of eggs came about when trying to address the needs of women who were going to undergo cancer therapy. Sometimes your cancer treatment might involve chemotherapy, might involve radiation, it might involve actually having to remove the ovaries. For example, if you have an ovarian tumor, obviously we take away the source of the eggs or we damage the source of the eggs with chemo or radiation. This obviously varies with the type of chemo or radiation. We might then reduce the chances of a woman being able to conceive. And that’s where egg freezing originally came from. We refer to this as an oncology egg freezing and usually what we will do is from the time of diagnosis, when the oncologists have told us, we still have roughly 10 days to two weeks, we will stop the egg freezing process in order to get some of these eggs for future use by that woman.

She can then safely start her medication, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation as needed. This is naturally evolved to what we call planned egg freezing, sometimes referred to as social egg freezing, but we prefer the term planned egg freezing. This is going to address the needs of women who might be busy with a very demanding career, they might not have found the right partner yet, or they might just want to preserve the options going forward. Sometimes there might be a family history of early onset of menopause. For example, if you know, your sister went through menopause very early at a young age, I’m talking about in her 30’s years, or there might be a family history of a condition related to going through menopause early. You might want to freeze eggs for future options for fertility.

Some of the other reasons we might freeze eggs are more technical. So, if we want to create an egg bank, women who are using donor eggs, we might then decide to freeze eggs for using the egg bank. We can also separate egg donor cycles, so stimulated donor retrieve her eggs and freeze them for a specific recipient. Or sometimes in the IVF process, we can’t get sperm at the point where we needed from the intended partner. For example, if there’s a production issue or if they actually just can’t get to the clinic or something happens, perhaps they’re in hospital or have an illness and they can’t produce a sample, then we can actually freeze the eggs from the IVF cycle and hold on to those until a point where we can get the sperm samples.

Most women watching this video probably want to know about planned egg freezing. So, I want to talk with you through the process of what happens leading up to the start of the freezing, how we plan the freezing, what medication you might need and what you can expect from the procedure. If you’re planning to freeze your eggs, it’s very important to come in for an initial consultation. We will run through your medical history; identify any risk factors we need to be aware of. We will do a full medical examination and an ultrasound assessment, both of the uterus and the ovaries. Obviously, the ovaries are our main focus, but it’s always good to make sure there’s nothing we need to be aware of from the side of the uterus, such as big fibroids, that might be in our way.

When we look at the ovary, we will look at all the potential little eggs. They show up as little black balloons, full of fluid on the ovary, and that when we count them, it’s called an antral follicle count. That gives us an idea as to how you will stimulate when we give you the medication. And it gives us a rough idea of how many eggs we can expect out of a cycle. After we’ve done your examination, we will send you for some blood tests. Some of the tests are an infectious diseases screening, including HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis. We check some of your hormonal profiles, such as your thyroid function, your prolactin levels, which is a hormone made from a little gland in the brain that can interfere with how you ovulate. We’ll also check your egg reserve by doing a blood test called an AMH. And this helps us interpret where we should be pitching the level of medication, because we can go in very gently with a low level of medication, more standard dose, or you might need a more aggressive dose to try and optimize the response we get from your ovary.

This blood test is also very important in helping us discuss the prognosis and how many eggs we think you will get. Once we have all this information, we’ll put together a plan for you, including your medication schedule and how we want to start medication. We have two options for when we start treatment. The one option is when we are more pressed and in hurry, and this is usually in the case of oncology, where we’ve only got 10 days to two weeks before the patient needs to start chemotherapy or radiation, and we then do an immediate start of treatment. We can start anywhere in a cycle. The difference between egg freezing and actually do an IVF cycle is I don’t need to worry about where your uterus is in your cycle, I’m only focusing on getting up those eggs.

So, I can start today or tomorrow, the only downside with starting at any point within a cycle is that sometimes you might need an extra day or two of stimulation. So, an extra day or two of medication to get the same response, but it is very safe for us to start doing the egg freezing immediately. The alternative is to start on day three of your cycle like we do for all IVF cycles. This is when you’ve recruited a whole bunch of those eggs in the ovary, ready to be stimulated and told to keep growing.

So, let’s chat a little bit about the medication that we’re going to give you. Why are we giving you this medication? The injections usually consists of a hormone called FSH. So that’s a little hormone made by brain that travels down to the ovary and it actually stands for follicle stimulating hormone. So, what it does is it tells your ovary, make all those little eggs; eggs grow inside of a little follicle and I’m going to show you a picture right now. So there, you can see the arrow is busy pointing towards the little egg that’s growing inside of that follicle. Now that follicles full of fluid. And that’s the thing we’re going to be looking at on an ultrasound. We can’t actually see the egg; we can just see the fluid around it.

So, remember at the very beginning of your cycle, you’re going to recruit a whole bunch of eggs. So, all of those eggs that your ovary is going to start growing, remember most of them will fizzle out, only one of them will grow and ovulate. So, what we’re trying to achieve with the medication is we’re trying to tell all of those little eggs carry on growing, don’t stop growing. So that’s why we are using follicle, stimulating hormone, we’re trying to stimulate those little follicles to grow. Now we might add in something else, something else called LH in that’s another hormone. Different centers will use different guidelines to decide whether they should add LH in or not. Sometimes we change our minds according to the patient’s age, according to the egg reserve, previous history of they’ve done cycles before. So, you might just be using FSH. You might be using a combination of FSH and LH.

Everyone always gets very nervous when we mention that you will have to give yourself injections. It’s a very easy injections for you to give, you usually give them into the lower tummy area. You don’t need to aim, you don’t need to angle, it just needs to get in the skin, and it’s not very painful at all. Just to give you an idea, this is one of the medications we might choose to use and look at that teensy tiny little needle. So, we might use one of these fancy pins and you might see these in other little Instagram videos or YouTube videos, but you set a dose like that.

Alternatively, we might use a different medication because these little pins only contain FSH. Remember I want to give you that other hormone called LH as well and that usually will involve mixing a little bit of powder and fluid. So, you get to go back to your old chemistry days. It’s very easy to do, very easy to mix, it’s really difficult for you to make a mistake. So, everyone gets a bit nervous about the mixing, our IVF coordinators are here to teach you how to do it. And if at any point you are uncomfortable, you are always welcome to come in every single day for your injections.

So now these medications are telling your ovaries, grow all those little eggs that you’ve recruited this month, don’t let any of them fizzle out. So, while we’re telling you to grow them, we don’t want you to ovulate any of those eggs. So, at the same time, we will start a medication that’s a tablet is a form of progesterone, it’s called Duphaston. It’s been around for a long time, we start that at the exact same time as your injections, and that prevents you from ovulating. And other clinics might still use other injections to stop you ovulating, but we find this the easiest way to help our patients who want to freeze eggs. It’s not an option if you want to transfer embryos in the same cycle, so that’s why you won’t see it in an IVF cycle. You only see it in a situation where we don’t plan on transferring an embryo, so an egg freeze or an embryo freeze.

So, here’s the diagram that’s going to explain what we do and how we do it. It looks a little bit intimidating, but don’t worry we’re going to run through it. So obviously here day one is when the period starts; your medication traditionally starts on day three and that’s when we will start through injections as well as those tablets. And you will keep doing that every single day. Usually roundabout day nine of your cycle, so right over there. We’ll start scanning you somewhere about day eight, day nine. And what we’re trying to see on the ultrasound is this one little super quiet ovary before we started stimulating, is starting to grow follicles.

So, you can see those little black grapes that are growing there. And we keep scanning you and we keep scanning you until that ovary fills up with these follicles. We measure the size of those follicles, so from one wall to the other, and when they reach a certain size, we know that the little egg inside should be ready for us to trigger. Now importantly, when we’re scanning, as you can see those follicles, all we can see is the fluid around the little egg. We can’t actually see the little egg, so there’s no guarantee that there will be an egg in each and every one of those follicles. Sometimes a follicle will be empty and only have fluid in, and we won’t get an egg out of it.

So, this is not a promise for an egg in every follicle, but it’s an assumption that there should be an egg in most follicles. So, once we’ve scanned you, usually we’re going to start scanning you about day nine. We might want to scan you again about day 12. Usually we’ll be ready to fetch the eggs somewhere on day 14. If you have a lot of eggs and we need to grow them a little bit bigger, we might still push that a little bit further up until about day 16. So, what does that mean for days of injecting? It means usually roughly 10 days of injecting before we’d be ready to actually retrieve the little eggs. And I’m going to run through that whole process in just a minute.

First of all, how do we get the eggs ready to retrieve? Well, we need to make them mature. So, these little eggs grow inside of the little follicles and they still are immature. We need to mature them like a good wine before we go. When we get the eggs out. How do we do that? We do that with a trigger shot; now that two different options for trigger shots. One of them is called an HCG injection, the other one is called a Lucrin injection. And which one we use will depend on how you respond to the medication. The Lucrin is a double shot and that one we give to anyone we are worried might have a lot of eggs or might be at risk of something called hyperstimulation. But I’m going to run you through what happens to me relation is when we chat about all of the risks about egg freezing.

The other option, the HCG injection, we commonly use this in IVF as well. If we feel they’re not enough takes to put you at risk of hyper stimulating, we will use HCG. As you can see in this picture, there’s a little diagram showing you the little HCG shot that triggers the follicles. Now usually what will happen is we will give you that injection that you will take quite late at night, usually nine, 10, 11, 12 o’clock at night at a very specific time. The next day you will come in to have the eggs retrieved, but the following days with 36 hours after that injection, you will have your eggs retrieved. Just before we run through what to expect when we fetch those eggs, let’s run through what to expect when you’re on your injections.

IVF medication gets a very bad reputation, but that’s from the really old drugs that we used to use when we were doing IVF quite a few years ago. What we expect now is that you are going to feel bloated, you’re going to feel swollen. You’re going to become very aware of the ovaries. So, when you sit down and you go over a speed bump, you might be a little bit uncomfortable. What you’ll find, you’ll start doing is sitting a little bit more carefully and a bit more gently. We don’t really expect you to be nauseous and moody, all over the show, emotional crying, and eating everything. We don’t really expect a lot of weight gain, the only fluids that you’ll learn too would be the weight that you gain in a cycle and you should lose that when you have a period.

So, don’t worry that you’re going to turn into the worst PMS version of yourself, definitely will not. Most patients come in here saying they’re very surprised they’re not feeling anything. If for anyone who’s ever been on Clomid or Fertomid, those medications have a lot worse side effect profile, and those are tablets than these injections. Other than the inconvenience of giving yourself an injection and a bit of an irritation if you bruise somewhere, otherwise all you’re really going to feel. It’s a bit of bloating. When we have triggered those little eggs to mature. If you have a lot of eggs, then you might start to feel very uncomfortable, right before you come in for your egg retrieval. It feels like very bad cramping in the ovaries, so if you can imagine period pain in the ovaries, you might get that for an hour or two before you come into the clinic to freeze your eggs. That’s completely normal, it’s nothing to panic about, you just need to let us know so we can make you comfortable, give you a hot water bottle while you’re waiting for your procedure. And we’ll take care of that discomfort for you.

So, when you come into the clinic, that morning you would have had nothing to eat or drink. You come into the reception, they’ll take you through to the theater and the theater sisters will get you ready. You’ll have a chat to the anesthetist, there will be an anesthetist who will sedate you. It’s not a full anesthetic, a full anesthetic when you have a surgery involves us actually paralyzing you and breathing for you on a ventilator. In this procedure, you breathe for yourself, you’re just very well sedated. So, you don’t feel any pain and you have no memory of the actual procedure. So, once you’re in the theater and the anesthetist just have a chat to you and they’re happy, they will take you into the actual room where you will verify your name and your ID number. So, it’s a technicality and we will then get you comfortable and put you off to sleep.

This is now what you can expect during the procedure. Now I’m never a fan of this picture because it gives you a few wrong impressions, but the concept is right. We will do a vaginal scan while you are asleep, there is a needle attached to that ultrasound, and that’s why you’re asleep and that needle will be inserted into the ovary, into each one of those follicles and the fluid inside there will be sucked out. Now I hate this picture because it gives you the idea that we go all this way through your tummy and that’s really not the case. When we have a look on this ultrasound picture that shows you what we’re actually doing with that little semi-circle, right at the very top. That’s the top of the ultrasound probe and that little bright white line there is the needle. So, you can see top of the vagina to the ovary, we’re really not traveling through a whole bunch of space in the tummy. We’re just popping that needle into each one of those black fluid pouches and sucking out all that fluid. Because remember inside that fluid pouch is a little egg.

So, we suck out all that fluid and if there is an egg in that follicle, it will go off to the lab, and then you can see it’s sitting in the test tube. So back to this picture, when you wake up, we will be able to tell you how many eggs we got. The lab will then take that egg, they’ll rest it for a little while. They’ll then clean off all the cells that are around it until it looks pretty like this, nice clean edges. They will then check to see that this egg is mature and if it is mature, they will then freeze that egg for you. So, we don’t fertilize it, there’s no sperm involved with egg freezing, it’s just a frozen egg. Once you’ve woken up from your procedure, we will give you something to eat, something to drink, have a chat to you, let you know how everything went and how many eggs we got.

We’ll let you know what to expect over the next few days as well. That evening you can expect to blow it up again, because as we collapsed on those follicles and suck out all that fluid, that ovary is going to fill up, all this little follicles are fluid again. Follicle is just doing what they think they should do after ovulation, because they know the egg isn’t there anymore. And they’re trying to re-expand so you will be bloated again, same as the next day and most likely the day afterwards as well you’ll be bloated. You’ll still feel a little bit uncomfortable; we do give you some painkillers to take it home. You shouldn’t be lying in bed in agony, it should just be a discomfort.

So, we recommend you take the day off and if you can take the day off after is always nice, but you are capable of going to work and carrying on with normal daily activities. You should get a period, depending on which trigger injection we have used either five to 10 days later. It will be a heavier period than usual because along with growing all of those eggs, those eggs make all little hormones that affect the lining. So, you will probably have a very thick lining as well, so you can expect a bit of a heavier period. After that, your cycle should go back to normal, there’s no interference with future cycles, no interference with future fertility either.

If you decide one day, you would like to come back for those eggs once they’ve been frozen, we will prepare your lining. Make sure that the lining on the inside of the uterus is really fresh to transfer embryos. We will thaw the eggs, we will inject the egg with sperm, and then we will culture, which is a fancy word for grow embryos until they’re at the stage where we can transfer them into the lining. This will all be covered in a later video on IVF. We also have a video on our Facebook page and our website, that’s an animated video showing you the whole process of IVF. So, from that point, it’s very much like IVF, thaw out the egg, inject the egg with sperm, culture the little embryos and then put back one or two embryos into the uterus. We then wait to see if those embryos have implanted and pregnancy is successful.

How long can you wait before you need to come back for those eggs? We don’t know yet, so at the moment, there’s no upper limits. Legally, we start having a few problems from 50 and after the age of 54, we can’t actually use them. But in terms of, if you’re 35 and you’re thinking of coming back for them in the next five or 10 years, there’s nothing wrong with that. Let’s talk about some of the risks involved in terms of the procedure. You will be under an anesthetic but there will be a fully qualified professional anesthetist looking after you the entire time.
Number two, we insert a needle from outside of the body inside the body. So, while everything we do is sterile and we do it within aseptic technique, we can never clean the vagina fully. So, to mitigate that risk, we do give you an antibiotic at the time of the procedure. Number three, you might have very big ovaries, those follicles can sometimes grow 18 to 20 millimeters in size. And if you think maybe you have 10 or more follicles, if you’re lucky on one ovary that ovaries going from very small to being quite a large thing. And that’s why you are quite aware of it. What we don’t want to see happen is something called torsion, that’s when that ovary twists. The solution, when it comes to torsion is often surgery. So, we would then have to do a laparoscopic procedure to actually untwist and save the ovary. What we do recommend as well we are freezing your eggs, perhaps stay away from high impact exercise, such as running jogging. It’s exercise because we don’t want to give your body any reason to go into a split ovary.

One or the other very important risks is something called hyperstimulation; hyperstimulation happens when you make a lot of follicles in each ovary. A lot of the time we start worrying about this when we see about 15 follicles, but it can happen at lower levels. And this is something that your doctor will decide if you are at risk or not. What we worry about is that you start to shift fluid in the body. So, you shift fluid from inside of your blood vessels to the outside. So, what happens all the fluid, shifting other blood vessels, you’re at risk of clots, and that can be clots, not only in the legs, but the clots you might know of from long distance travel. But also, those clots can break off and go to the lungs that could be in the arteries and they can be very dangerous.

Your kidneys can take strain, you can get a big belly full of fluid that can actually make it quite hard for you to breathe and we might need to actually take off some of that fluid and get fluid in the lungs. It can become very severe and you can land up in ICU and it can take a very long time for us to sort out. So how do we avoid this risk? Number one, if we think you are at risk, we will use a safer trigger called the Lucrin injection. Remember I said, you might get an HCG injection or double shot of a Lucrin injection. So, if at any point we are concerned that you might be at risk of hyperstimulation, we will give you the Lucrin trigger, a double shot that will drop your risk very significantly. If you are worried about hyperstimulation chat to your doctor about it. We’re always happy to tell you about your risks and what we will do to prevent you getting hyperstimulation.

One of the questions we’ve recently been asked is what do I do with these eggs when I want to fall pregnant? Do I try naturally myself or must I use these eggs? That’ll depend on where you are and why you froze those eggs. If you’ve undergone chemotherapy and you don’t have enough eggs left for radiation, obviously you might have to resort to these eggs. If you are 44, 45, you’ve run out of good quality eggs, and you first in your early thirties then yes, we would recommend you fall back onto these eggs immediately. But for example, if you were 33 and you froze eggs, because your career was busy, there was no one in your life and you are now 37 and you want to start a family, by all means. Try naturally first. We might even say, if you can try naturally try a normal IVF cycle first, these eggs are meant to be your backup option.

Another question we get asked is what happens if I decide I don’t want to keep my eggs anymore? Well, you can let us know, we’ve got two options. You can either discard the eggs, which we will do in a medical procedure, or we can donate the eggs if you want us to. Donation can go one of two ways either you can donate them anonymously to a couple who don’t have eggs themselves who would have to access egg donation, or we can donate them to science. So that might be in terms of developing new therapies or being able to train some of our embryologist to work on eggs completely your choice.

Another question we’re often asked is how many eggs do I need? And that’s a very difficult number to actually precisely pinpoint as this depends on your age and the egg quality. When you were younger and you have better eggs, you might need fewer eggs to result in a healthy live birth. And remember, we’re not just wanting a pregnancy, we want you to take home a baby. So, when you were younger, you might need a fewer eggs, but the irony is you probably will make more eggs when you were younger. When you are older, you will need a larger amount of eggs. There is a graph that we’re happy to share with you that gives you a guideline of where you should be number wise. But sometimes this means doing more than one cycle. Some patients will come and do a cycle and get five eggs in one cycle and then we will recommend that they should consider doing another one.

Some patients are very lucky, will come and freeze their eggs and get 20 to 25 eggs in one cycle. In which case they don’t need to consider doing another one. This is something that is individualized and it’s not a case of, if we do a cycle, we only get so many eggs that you absolutely have to do another cycle. We can recommend one, but the choice is yours and what you are comfortable with doing. An important decision to consider is whether you want to create embryos or whether you would like to just freeze the eggs. Remember the eggs can be used with any partner in the future. So, should you meet someone later on down the line or should you decide in five years’ time, you want to use a sperm donor, even those eggs can be used then. If you create embryos now using other donor sperm or your partner’s sperm, you can’t then undo that part of the decision. Those embryos will always contain your genetics and his genetics, whether it’s donor and then you meet someone who wants to have children with your partner that might be problematic, or whether it’s a partner.

So, the first thing we need to consider is, is there a source of sperm, either the donor sperm or your partner sperm, and then do you want to create embryos? So, once we have injected the egg with the sperm and the little embryo is formed, we then grow that embryo we culture it for five days. And when it forms a blastocyst, which is a very specific form of a day five embryo, that I’ll show you a picture of, then we can freeze that embryo. So, remember our little day three embryo it might be a little six or eight cells that you can see there. Once you’ve grown it till day five, they look very different, they look like this and this is a blastocyst. And this is the kind of embryo that we freeze, we do not free to day three embryos. We freeze blastocysts.
So that’s the real catch, of all the eggs that you have, not all of those eggs will fertilize. Not all the fertilized eggs will divide and continue growing until the stage there are blastocyst that we can freeze. So out of 10 eggs, statistically in the average patient, you might have two or three blastocysts that you can freeze. So, while eggs is your potential start and having a certain amount of eggs gives you an idea of how many embryos you might get out of those eggs, freezing embryos gives you a very realistic understanding of chances of pregnancy. For example, you know that if you have three embryos, you can have three transfer. Now not every embryo implanted into the uterus will become a pregnancy, but that at least gives you three attempts. When we are looking at, for example, 10 eggs, we don’t actually know how many blastocysts will form. We know we should expect two or three, sometimes we’re lucky and we get five or six.
Sometimes we very unlucky and we don’t get any, or maybe even one. In that case, having that information is quite helpful because then, you know, maybe I should freeze some more eggs and create some more embryos. When you’ve just got those 10 eggs in front of you don’t know how many of those will become blastocyst. So, you are assuming you will get a certain amount of embryos out of those eggs. Actually, knowing how many embryos you have and have those frozen it’s a lot more information.

Is there a reason for everyone to freeze embryos? No, as I said, if you don’t have a partner in your life and you don’t want to use donor sperm, it is completely fine to use eggs. We just set the mark a little bit higher as to how many eggs we want. So instead of saying we want two or three blastocysts we’re then saying we want 10 to 15 eggs, for example. But as I said, we do have a graph we can share that helps us understand what kind of egg number we should be aiming for. We get a lot of questions about women in their late thirties asking, is it too late for them to come and freeze their eggs. While it’s not ideal to push egg freezing later, we would ideally want slightly younger woman, mid-thirties, sort of 33 34 35, those are great ages to be freezing eggs.

We can still freeze eggs at a later stage, remember egg number reduces as we age. But also, equality reduces as we age, so we would like a larger number and we would like better quality. But that’s not a reason for us to deny you treatment, we just need to have a very realistic discussion after we’ve done your full examination and the assessment of your egg reserve, how many eggs we think we would get from a cycle. And how many cycles we think we would need to get to optimize your chances of a pregnancy later. It doesn’t mean that you can’t access treatment, and our general guideline is if we would offer you IVF, we will probably offer you egg freezing. So, it’s not too late come and have a chat to us, and we will let you know whether it’s a good idea for you or not.

What is the best age to be freezing your eggs? Obviously, we want you a little bit younger as I said, with better quality and a greater number of eggs that we can get per cycle. However, there’s no specific set age, obviously we don’t want every 22-year-old coming to freeze her eggs because you might never need it. And then you’re putting yourself through a procedure for unnecessary risk. But the time to start thinking about it is in your early to mid-thirties. If you think I’ve got big career plans, this is not the time for me to be either a single mother or having children even if you are married. If you say we are starting this plan or that plan, my husband has to move for work. Maybe this is not the right time for us to have kids, we want to delay a little bit. Sometimes you might just not have met the right person that you want to raise a family with. In that case, always a good idea to come and have a chat to us; just because you’ve come to see us doesn’t mean you have to go through the egg freezing process immediately. You can take a little while to think about it and see whether it’s the right decision for you.
I hope this video has answered most of your questions about egg freezing. If not, please get a hold of us at info@capefertility.co.za or come in and have a chat to one of our doctors. We feel very strongly about egg freezing because a lot of women don’t really know that is an option for them and something they should be considering. What we really hate to see is women coming into 45, 46 when they can’t use their own eggs anymore and they’ve lost that opportunity. And so often we hear, I wish someone would’ve just told me 10 years ago to go freeze my eggs when I was in my mid-thirties. Even women in their late thirties saying if I had just known three or four years ago, I would have done this.

We don’t want any woman to ever be in that position, so please come and have a chat to us. Even if you just want to reach out and find out some more information, get ahold of us, either on our Facebook page, via email, come in and see one of the doctors even send me a message on Instagram. We’re always happy to help. Let me know if you have further questions and we’ll chat again soon.