Egg freezing is a relatively new technology used to freeze a woman’s eggs and store them until a pregnancy is desired. At that time, the eggs are thawed, fertilized and subsequently transferred to the uterus.
Medical egg freezing is available for women diagnosed with a treatable cancer. These patients will often require chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which will destroy their eggs. Egg freezing will give these patients the opportunity to have children when the cancer treatment is completed and they are ready. Patients that require surgical removal of their ovaries for benign or questionable disease can also be offered egg freezing.
Elective egg freezing is available for women between ages of 21 and 43 who wish to electively postpone having a baby. Egg freezing is most ideal between ages 30 and 38 years.
The process of stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs is similar to the one used in in vitro fertilization. It involves daily hormone shots for approximately 10 days. Serial vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests are done to monitor the ovarian response.
The egg retrieval process is a simple 15 – 20 minute office procedure done under anesthesia. The eggs are harvested vaginally under ultrasound guidance. Most patients will leave the office within an hour after the procedure.
Worldwide, there have been thousands of babies that have been conceived with egg freezing.
Success rates with egg freezing are increasing as we gain more experience with the technique.
A recent paper confirmed that the incidence of birth defects in babies born with frozen eggs was similar to the incidence with natural conception for that age.
Egg freezing is still considered to be an experimental procedure by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. At InVia Fertility Specialists, egg freezing is supervised by a review board.
In Illinois, egg freezing is generally NOT covered by insurance. The cost of an egg freezing cycle at InVia Fertility Specialists is around $ 7,000/-. This does not include cost of anesthesia ($650/-) and storage ($600 per year). Fertility drugs for stimulation may cost an additional $3,000 - $5,000.
Dr. Karande is Board Certified in the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as the subspecialty of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.