There are several reasons to consider freezing your eggs. However, whether you have a health diagnosis that could affect your fertility or you’d like a chance of conceiving later in life, there’s still an ideal time to start the process.
Dr. Tony Tsai and The New York Fertility Center team work with people looking to restore, preserve, and extend their fertility. If you’re considering freezing your eggs, here’s what you should know.
Why people freeze their eggs
Believe it or not, the female reproductive system contains only a certain number of eggs, and they’re all present from birth. At that point in time, the eggs — or follicles — number about 1-2 million.
While that may seem infinite, these cells decrease every year. By age 25, you could have only 300,000 follicles left. During their reproductive years, women typically release 300-400 eggs. But once they reach their late 30s, there’s a sharp decrease in the quantity and quality of the remaining eggs.
These changes increase the chances of:
- Problems conceiving
- Birth defects and congenital anomalies
- Chromosomal abnormalities
Freezing your eggs when you’re younger and when healthier eggs are more numerous can help preserve your fertility if you have a health condition or can help you conceive in the future if you’re putting off starting a family.
The best age to freeze your eggs
To increase the chances of a successful future pregnancy, most experts recommend limiting egg freezing to people under age 38. Because egg supplies start to decline rapidly around age 37, however, many consider the optimal age to range from 30-34 years of age.
But there’s more to freezing your eggs than an “ideal age.” Other factors also come into play, including your physical health.
Dr. Tsai and his team understand that every situation is unique. If you’re thinking of freezing your eggs, we can guide you through the process and determine if you’re a good candidate.
What to expect when freezing your eggs
The process of freezing eggs is fairly straightforward.
Preparing for retrieval
It starts with hormone injections twice a day for 10-12 days. During this time, you also undergo several pelvic ultrasounds and frequent blood work to track your egg development.
Retrieving the eggs
When the eggs mature, Dr. Tsai retrieves them during an outpatient ultrasound-guided surgical procedure. This takes 20-30 minutes, and you receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable.
Storing the eggs
After retrieving the eggs, the team verifies their maturity to ensure they can become fertilized in the future. Then, they undergo vitrification, which puts them in a deep freeze very quickly.
Frozen eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen tanks and maintained in an embryology lab. These specialty sites monitor the temperature of the storage units and equipment 24 hours a day to protect the viability of the eggs.
Using the eggs
If you decide to use your eggs, some of them are thawed and fertilized. In many cases, Dr. Tsai recommends intracytoplasmic sperm injection for this step because it has higher success rates than natural methods.
Are you thinking about freezing your eggs? Contact The New York Fertility Center to schedule a consultation today at one of our offices — in Flushing and Manhattan, New York.