Egg-freezing has made it easier for women to enjoy motherhood anytime, on their terms. An increasing number of women do not worry about their biological clock as they think they have other alternatives to conceive. Therefore, women who are passionate about their careers can easily conceive later in life by freezing their eggs. This technology has indeed invoked happiness among women and given them the flexibility to postpone motherhood. To talk about the same we are joined by Dr Rubina Pandit, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Bangalore.
What Is Egg-Freezing?
Under egg-freezing process, a woman’s oocytes (eggs) are retrieved or extracted, frozen and stored, and thawed when the woman wants to use them to conceive in future. The eggs can be preserved for months or even years until the woman gets ready to conceive. The eggs will be then fertilized with the sperm of the partner through IVF and the resulting embryo will be implanted in the woman’s uterus or womb to achieve a pregnancy.
The process is also known as mature oocyte cryopreservation and it helps to ensure fertility and reproductive potential of the women in the best way.
Why Do Women Opt For Egg-Freezing?
There can be several reasons why women choose egg-freezing and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART) to conceive. Here are a few common reasons:
- If a couple is going through IVF treatment and somehow the male partner is unable to produce enough sperm on the day of egg retrieval, then in such cases, egg-freezing is the best option.
- Women who are undergoing cancer treatment choose egg-freezing to conceive later in life. This is because chemotherapy and radiotherapy can harm their fertility.
- Some women choose to work to achieve their goals and conceive in their late 30 or early 40s. As they worry about age-related infertility in future, they choose to freeze their eggs at an early age.
- If there is a family history of early menopause, egg-freezing can help.
What Is The Right Time For Egg-Freezing?
Women should freeze their eggs within their 20s or before their mid-30s if they want to delay pregnancy. Age factor has to be kept in mind while egg-freezing for premium egg quality. The number of eggs required for a successful pregnancy will increase with age. An older woman will require more eggs for the procedure to achieve a successful pregnancy.
Not only this but egg quality can also be affected due to several age-related health issues like diabetes, hypertension etc. Therefore, it is best to go for the treatment as early as possible. Eggs can be preserved for 10-13 years without impacting their quality. Eggs must be banked at the right time for positive outcomes and to reduce risks of quality degradation.
Are There Any Cons?
It cannot be said enough that egg-freezing helps women to bear a child under different circumstances. However, there are a few cons to the procedure. A woman might go through several physical changes within a few months or years which reduces the chances of a successful pregnancy. For example, with increasing age, women may develop health issues like Adenomyosis, diabetes, fibroids etc., which can lead to failure of IVF procedure or increase the risk of miscarriages. With age, the quality of sperm of the male partner may also deteriorate, affecting the pregnancy and the baby in many ways.
Also, there can be some side effects of the fertility drugs given at the time of retrieval of eggs to induce ovulation. In some cases, women can suffer from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (painful and swollen ovaries). Other signs of the syndrome may include nausea, diarrhoea, bloating, pain in the abdomen etc.
Despite the cons, if done at the right time, egg-freezing can be worth the wait. It is a reliable and convenient procedure, giving women a chase to enjoy motherhood at any time of their choice.