If you’re interested in preserving your fertility, the best place to start is understanding the facts.
You deserve the facts
We are all different. But some facts and averages can help you understand your present — so you can better prepare for your future.
We are born with all the eggs we will ever have
Women are born with about 2 million eggs. By the time of our first period, our egg count has already decreased to roughly 300,000 to 400,000 eggs. It’s estimated that we lose up to 1,000 additional eggs every month. President of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology
The quality and quantity of our eggs declines with age
Our egg reserve starts to diminish more rapidly during our late 20s, with a sharper drop in our mid-30s. Egg quality declines too, which reduces the likelihood of eggs resulting in a successful pregnancy. U.S. National Library of Medicine of the National Institute of Health
There are ways to measure your ovarian reserve
Your ovarian reserve, or the number of eggs present in your ovaries, can be measured through a blood test for the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). AMH is a hormone released by the growing cells in your ovaries.
Freezing eggs is the way of the future
In 1984, the first live birth from a frozen egg was reported. As of 2013, egg freezing is no longer considered an elective procedure. Meanwhile, for the first time ever, more women in their 30s are having babies than their 20-something counterparts. New York Times
Freezing eggs is like freezing time
The age you are when you freeze your eggs is the age those eggs will be forever. The uterus can also continue to bear children well after no more quality eggs remain. Mayo Clinic
You’ll never be more fertile than you are today
There is no strict deadline to freeze your eggs, but data shows that egg quality is highest before age 35. In general, the younger you are when you freeze, the higher the quantity and quality of those eggs. ASRM
Freezing eggs doesn’t affect your ability to get pregnant naturally
The 20-30 eggs retrieved during egg freezing are coming from the same 1,000 or so eggs you lose every month through menstruation. It’s not an either-or choice.
Using frozen eggs is safe
Studies have compared the outcomes of live births from frozen eggs and non-frozen eggs and concluded that there is no increase in chromosomal abnormalities, birth defects or developmental deficits in children born from frozen eggs. ASRM
Egg freezing works
Pregnancy rates are nearly equal with frozen and non-frozen eggs, indicating that egg freezing doesn’t affect the ability to have a healthy and successful pregnancy. U.S. National Library of Medicine of the National Institute of Health
How egg freezing works
One egg freezing cycle takes around two weeks from the day you start medication to your egg retrieval. It’s important to note that two or more cycles may be needed for enough eggs to be retrieved. Since everyone’s individual experience is unique, the specific days included below are averages.
To help you make a more informed decision about whether to freeze your eggs, a fertility specialist will start off with an assessment of your fertility through an Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test. AMH, a hormone released by the growing cells in your ovaries, is measured to provide a sense of your current egg reserve.
Once your results are returned, a certified reproductive endocrinologist will recommend a personalized plan. A few more tests may be recommended before beginning the stimulation process.
Your fertility care team will help you understand how to administer the at-home hormone injections involved in the stimulation process.
You’ll be giving yourself small at-home hormone injections to stimulate your ovaries, so they can grow more eggs.
Throughout this protocol - usually 10-14 days - you’ll come in for regular scans and blood tests to monitor your response to the drugs and adjust your dosage as necessary.
When your hormones and follicles are at the right levels, a fertility specialist will provide you with a trigger injection, which allows your eggs to complete maturation and start the ovulation process. This happens about 36 hours before your egg retrieval.
You’ll be sedated for about 10-15 minutes while a physician collects your eggs. You may be a little sore afterward, but the majority of women resume normal activities the next day.
Your retrieved eggs will be evaluated and cryopreserved by an embryologist the same day.
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