More and more couples are delaying getting pregnant. Women are focusing on their careers and building a life before taking on the commitment of motherhood. Unfortunately, biology doesn’t always support our life choices. The best of reproductive years for women are also the years when getting pregnant is the last thing on her mind. So what does the modern woman choose? A career or a family? Thanks to modern science and technology, women can do both. Enter oocyte cryopreservation, simply called egg freezing.
Things to know about egg freezing
Here are seven essential things about egg freezing that you must know before going in for the procedure:
1# What Is Egg Freezing?
If I were to explain it to you in really simple words, egg freezing means harvesting mature eggs from a woman’s ovaries, then freezing them so they can be used when the woman wants to plan her pregnancy. The harvested eggs are stored, they can be thawed and fertilised with a sperm in a laboratory and the resultant embryo inserted into the uterus.
2# Why Freeze Eggs?
You may be aware that a woman is born with definite a number of eggs in her ovaries. This number may be around a million at the time of her birth, but by the time she hits puberty this number has already slashed by more than half. Out of these only a few hundred eggs will remain healthy and viable for reproduction in a woman’s whole lifetime. It is critical to know that while the sperms in men are made everyday, oocytes or eggs supply is not replenished. Each month, after a woman reaches reproductive age, she loses at least one egg to ovulation.
As a woman ages, this stock of eggs keeps depleting. Which is why the best years for a woman to get pregnant are between her late 20s and early 30s. This is where egg freezing technology comes in. Doctors can now take the eggs out of the ovary and keep them safely so that they don’t go to waste month after month. But egg freezing technology is not just a boon for those looking at delaying pregnancy but also couples dealing with infertility, a medical condition like cancer. Let us dive deeper into who will benefit from the technology of egg freezing.
3# Benefits of Egg Freezing
It has been estimated by WHO that one in six couples all around the World are having some sort of difficulty in conceiving. This problem has been seen on the rise in India as well, especially in the metropolitan cities the rates of infertility are touching around one in four. Stress and sedentary lifestyle is also contributing to infertility concerns for more and more couples.Planning ahead and freezing eggs at a younger age ensures better quality and yield of eggs. In this case egg freezing could help a woman become a genetic and biological mother.
There are certain medical conditions in which a young lady has to undergo some sort of treatment which can jeopardize a successful conception. Freezing technology has come up as a boon for such couples. Egg freezing also reduces the risk of chromosomal abnormalities that may result due to less or more number of chromosomes in the eggs or sperms.
4# When should you consider egg freezing?
When you don't want a pregnancy at the moment but you are anxious about your growing age and you want to to reserve your healthy eggs for the future in case required if unfortunately you are not conceiving naturally.
When you are supposed to take a medical treatment like chemotherapy which is given for cancers or radiation therapy or any other kind of treatment or surgery which might affect your fertility then probably it is a good idea to go for egg freezing and preserve your healthy eggs before there is any harm or damage to these eggs by the disease or treatment.
When you are planning a pregnancy and not achieving it at any given age and for that reason you are undergoing IVF treatment. This would be a good idea to preserve healthy eggs produced in this cycle in case you decide to have second child after sometime when these frozen eggs/ embryos can be used.
5# How is egg freezing done?
Retrieval of healthy eggs from your ovaries involve hormonal injections. These will help in maturing multiple eggs instead of a single egg at a time. When these eggs mature, the procedure of retrieval is performed. This is called ovum pick up. This procedure is done as a daycare surgery where you are admitted in the hospital for half a day. The procedure is performed under anaesthesia and retrieval of of mature eggs from your ovaries through a specialised needle under ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done vaginally and doesn't involve any cut on your tummy. After the procedure you can go home the same day and your eggs are frozen in liquid nitrogen. Egg freezing procedure is a minor procedure and carries very small risks of any complications.
6# How to Prepare for Egg Freezing?
If you are considering the process, look for a doctor and hospital that you trust and with expertise in the field. Ask for all information about the process and the costs involved in the medicines, injections, procedure and also the storage of eggs. Before the procedure your doctor will recommend some blood tests and scans. You will also be tested for some infectious diseases like HIV and Covid 19.
7# No Shame In Egg Freezing
Most importantly, remember that there is no shame in taking a decision that will help you lead a happier, fuller life. That is exactly the purpose of medical advancements and technological developments. Do not let society dictate what is “normal” or “abnormal”.
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