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More Women Are Choosing to Freeze Their Eggs During COVID

Posted in Fertility, Infertility

3 Minute Read:

If egg freezing is starting to make headlines and featured in lifestyle magazines, it’s probably because it’s on the rise. The current pandemic has encouraged more women to consider freezing their eggs to potentially lengthen the time they can conceive using their own eggs, with the number of women freezing their eggs nearly doubling during the pandemic.

Doctor reaching into a freezing vat with tongs

The reasons for this increase are both COVID-related and technological. A surge in egg-freezing procedures throughout the last decade has made it more commonplace, while a slight decrease in cost has made it more accessible than ever.

And as people across the country have been forced to spend more time at home, they’ve had time to focus on their reproductive futures — and worry about what the pandemic might mean for their future plans for a family.

What Is Egg Freezing?

For anyone who isn’t familiar, this procedure involves retrieving fresh eggs from the ovaries and storing them in a controlled environment until they are needed. Women freeze their eggs so that they have more control over when they choose to start a family.

In the past, women who wanted to postpone pregnancy for personal or professional reasons often turned to donor eggs, but egg freezing has become a viable option for delaying pregnancy since it gained FDA approval in 2014.

Our current understanding is that egg freezing works best for younger women and those who are healthy. It’s a growing option for many women who want to put off having children until they’re ready.

How Does Egg Freezing Work?

The first step in egg freezing is taking fertility medications that stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs instead of just one egg during ovulation. This process takes about two weeks, and you’ll undergo ultrasounds and blood tests to monitor your progress.

During the procedure, you’re under light anesthesia, and a doctor uses an ultrasound to guide a needle through the vaginal wall into each of your ovaries. The needle pulls out fluid from each follicle, which is then tested for eggs. Eggs that are retrieved are then carefully observed, then cryopreserved and frozen for future use. 

Once your eggs are frozen they can stay that way until you decide to use them.

Am I a Candidate for Egg Freezing?

The best candidates for egg freezing are women who have regular periods and have not gone through menopause. There are tests performed before beginning an egg freezing treatment so that you and your doctor can have the necessary information to determine if this is a good option for you. 

Women who would benefit most from egg freezing include:

  • Women who want to delay starting a family
  • Women who have been diagnosed with cancer and need fertility preservation before treatment starts
  • Women whose fertility has been compromised by another condition, such as endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, or polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Trans men (pre-transition) looking to preserve their eggs for use with a surrogate down the line

How Much Does Egg Freezing Cost?

Egg freezing is now more accessible than ever before, making it a more common option for women. Unfortunately, there is no way to gauge your potential cost estimate until after you have consulted with a professional. 

Cost factors include the procedure, medication, doctor’s visits, and yearly storage fees (for your eggs).

Is Egg Freezing Right for You?

Freezing your eggs is not a guarantee that you’ll be able to have a baby in the future, but it can significantly increase your chances.
If you want to put off your decision to have a child until you’re ready, talk to a doctor about the procedure. It’s fairly straightforward, relatively affordable, and it can give you much more freedom in choosing the right time for you.