Recent announcements from Facebook and Apple that they will cover the cost of egg freezing for female employees has put the fertility option in the limelight. Though new to some, the procedure has been available for almost two decades.
"At Community Health Network, we pioneered a novel method for egg freezing in the late 1990's that has led to the birth of over 30 healthy babies," said Dr. Jeffrey Boldt, fertility specialist and scientific director at Community Health Network. "As the years have progressed, advances in freezing technology have now made the process easier and increased success rates."
These advances were recently recognized by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the procedure is no longer considered to be experimental. Though it has not received official approval from the ASRM, many IVF clinics offer egg freezing to women interested in fertility preservation.
"Egg freezing acts as insurance against age-associated loss of fertility," explained Boldt. "The procedure gives women who are waiting to find a partner, focusing on their career, or at-risk of losing their fertility due to different medical conditions the option of having children."
However, women seeking to store eggs for future use should be aware that there are no guarantees freezing will be successful.
"Interested women should consult with experts in the field of reproductive endocrinology, as well as in embryology and cryopreservation (freezing) technologies," said Boldt.
He recommends that women ask the following questions during a consult:
- Have you had experience in egg freezing?
- What are your clinic's survival rates and pregnancy rates using frozen/thawed eggs?
- What are all of the associated costs of the procedure, including cycle fess, freezing, and storage?
Boldt stated that women should also have testing done to determine what their potential is to produce multiple eggs for freezing.
"Current estimates are that a woman should have at least 10-12 eggs frozen to increase their chances of conception with frozen eggs," Boldt said. "Depending on her response to stimulation, she may require several stimulation and egg retrieval cycles to obtain that number of eggs for storage."
Egg freezing cycles use medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, and tests can be done to predict how many eggs a woman might be expected to produce from one stimulation cycle.
Boldt reminds women that the decision to pursue egg freezing should be made carefully, and they should make sure they find a clinic that is experienced in the technology and will address their questions and concerns.
"With the right provider, egg freezing can provide women with comfort and hope that, when the time comes, she can experience the joys of pregnancy and childbirth," he said. "The ability to freeze eggs and store them for long-term use provides women with reproductive options that they may not have otherwise had."
Interested women can learn more about egg freezing by contacting Community Assisted Fertility Services at 317-621-0600.