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Pros And Cons Of Egg Freezing, Expert Explains

Egg freezing entails preparing for in vitro fertilisation using younger eggs in the future.

Sambhav Kumar
Written by: Sambhav KumarUpdated at: Feb 15, 2023 19:03 IST
Pros And Cons Of Egg Freezing, Expert Explains

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Oocyte cryopreservation, also known as egg freezing, is the method of extracting mature eggs and freezing them for future use. Many people use egg freezing for various reasons, including illness, gender transition, decreased fertility, and gestational surrogacy. Before freezing, egg quality and quantity get  assessed through testing and screening. The ovary is then stimulated with hormones and fertility medications to facilitate egg retrieval. Also, an egg retrieval cycle can produce up to 15 eggs, which get frozen and stored in a facility until needed.

In an interaction with OnlyMyHealth editorial team, Dr. Sita Sharma, MBBS,MD ,Senior Consultant, Apollo Fertility, Amritsar, explained the pros and cons of egg freezing.

How Does Egg Freezing Work

Patients undergoing in vitro fertilisation and those experiencing egg freezing undergo the same preliminary procedures. Egg freezing entails preparing for in vitro fertilisation using younger eggs in the future. After four days of hormone therapy to promote egg proliferation, the eggs are removed one at a time with a needle on the fifth day (in a 20-minute procedure). They are then dehydrated to prevent ice crystals from forming and damaging the egg. The eggs are placed in storage containers and frozen in liquid nitrogen after being cleaned in water with chemical solvents, which can keep them fresh for up to 10 years.

Pros Of Egg-Freezing

You're in control

Only your genes control your decision to freeze the eggs. Since, in egg freezing, sperms are not required during the procedure, egg freezing provides many options. This is a significant benefit if you're single and looking for a sperm donor. This reproductive autonomy is undeniably true—freezing your eggs puts you in control of your own reproductive process.

Also read: When Should Couples Opt For In Vitro Fertilisation? Know From An Expert

Freezing time

There is no denying that egg quality begins to deteriorate after age 35. If you freeze your eggs now, you won’t anymore have to worry about yourreproduction, especially if you are nearing that age, have been told by a fertility doctor that your eggs are of poor quality, or are concerned about cancer or another illness.

Less Cost Up Front

Freezing eggs is less expensive in the long run. This is done as IVF costs still is  a deciding factor. This does not imply that freezing your eggs is an inexpensive alternative; one cycle of egg freezing is still expected to cost between 6 lakh to 16 lakh, depending on the cost of your fertility testing, drugs, and storage. Adding the cost of laboratory fertilisation to the cost of embryo freezing can raise the price by several thousand of rupees. Even if you need to defrost your stored eggs in future, you will have more time to save up for the additional costs associated with IVF when the time comes if you choose to do so.

Cons Of Egg-Freezing

Side effects and risks

The risks and side effects of fertility drugs, egg retrieval, and eventual IVF treatment are high for egg freezing. Swollen or painful ovaries, nausea, cramps, and potentially more severe side effects such as blood clots and dehydration are all possible side effects of injectable medications used to stimulate the uterus.

Also read: 6 Facts About In Vitro Fertilisation You Should Be Aware Of

Unknown viability

When it comes to the viability of the recovered eggs, it's difficult to predict if they will be viable before they are fertilised. Cells cannot be genetically tested before implantation, which may cause some disappointment in the future. Positively, more eggs are often retrieved in a cycle, increasing your chances of getting healthy embryos and viable eggs in the future.

In a nutshell, egg freezing can be an excellent family planning method with numerous advantages. However, weighing your options and consulting with a doctor, partner, or another close relative is essential.

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