Infertility Treatment Option
Egg freezing is a breakthrough technology that allows women to freeze
and store their eggs indefinitely. Once a pregnancy is desired, the eggs
can be thawed, fertilized and placed within the uterus in order to initiate a
Egg freezing has been used to help with IVF treatment since the 1980s.
Initially, egg freezing was an experimental treatment. Only patients facing
chemotherapy, radiotherapy, autoimmune disease treatments, and other
medical interventions that could cause infertility were eligible. In 2012,
elective egg freezing was no longer considered experimental.
Today, elective egg freezing is available to anyone who wants to preserve
their fertility for medical, social, or professional reasons. At InVia Fertility,
we have helped many patients freeze their eggs to help ensure a better
chance at building a family in the future.
Our support doesn’t end with freezing, however. We have also successfully
helped many patients who have returned to pursue IVF treatment using
their frozen eggs. InVia Fertility’s team will be here for you whenever you
are ready to grow your family.
This page explains the essentials of egg freezing: why it’s done, who can
benefit, and how it works. We use gendered terms to describe anatomy
and fertility on this page: please use the information in the way that works
best for you.
Stopping the “Biological Clock”
Fertility in women begins to decline in their late 20s. This decline is
relatively slow until approximately age 35. By age 38, the rate of fertility loss
begins to accelerate, and continues to do so until the early 40s, when the
chance of pregnancy declines significantly.
While the chance of pregnancy drops as a woman ages, the chances of a
high-risk pregnancy rise as genetic mutations develop in her aging eggs.
Mutations can include defects that raise the likelihood of miscarriage or
having a child with chromosomal disorders such as trisomy and Down
syndrome. Freezing eggs allows a woman to "put the brakes" on these
mutations, because frozen eggs are suspended at the age of the woman at
the time the eggs were removed and preserved.
Even if a woman returns a decade later to use her frozen eggs, her chances
of having a successful pregnancy and live birth through IVF are greater.
That’s because her frozen eggs have not aged along with her.
Once eggs are frozen, they can be stored indefinitely, then thawed when
the patient is ready to start or grow their family.
Who Can Benefit from Egg Freezing?
There are several groups of people who are candidates for egg freezing:
• Single women who want to ensure they can build a family someday.
• Women who want to delay pregnancy for professional reasons, such
as medical residents, military personnel, athletes, performers, and
• Patients undergoing in-vitro fertilization to overcome infertility, but
who do not want to fertilize more eggs than they will utilize.
• Transgender people with ovaries pursuing gender-affirming
treatment who want to preserve the option to be a biological parent
in the future.
• Women in need of treatment for cancer, autoimmune diseases, and
other conditions that require the use of medications or procedures
known to harm future fertility (in Illinois, these patients may be
eligible for insurance coverage)
Note that patients with a partner or patients who choose donor sperm can
also freeze fertilized embryos Couples who know they want to have
children together in the future may want to consider freezing embryos
instead of eggs. Because embryos are already fertilized and have begun to
develop when we freeze them, they have a better chance of becoming a
successful pregnancy when thawed. Thawed eggs must go through the
fertilization process and then develop into embryos. Not all of them will
successfully make it through those additional steps.
How Does Egg Freezing Work?
First, you will meet with your physician to discuss your medical history and
family-building plans. Then we will conduct a variety of tests to evaluate
your current fertility health and create a custom-tailored treatment
protocol based on your specific needs. During treatment, you will be prescribed a medication called gonadotropin. This medication stimulates the ovaries to produce several eggs. You will have regular monitoring appointments where we track the
progress of your eggs.
When the eggs are mature, you will take a “trigger shot” that signals to
your ovaries to release the eggs. These eggs are then collected using a
minor surgical technique known as transvaginal oocyte retrieval.
This procedure is performed under light anesthesia, and no incision is
required. Eggs are then vitrified and frozen in liquid nitrogen for long-term
“Vitrification” is the process by which eggs are rapidly cooled. This rapid
cooling prevents the formation of ice crystals within the egg—ice crystals
which could damage the egg when it is thawed later.
Is Egg Freezing Safe?
The medications used to prepare the ovaries to mature eggs are generally
safe, but there is some risk of a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation
syndrome. This is a rare complication that requires immediate medical
There is no evidence of risk to the health of a baby that results from an egg
that was previously frozen.
Is Egg Freezing Expensive?
In Illinois, many insurance policies cover fertility treatments. Unfortunately,
egg freezing is generally not covered except in the case of cancer patients
and other patients who require a necessary medical treatment that may
directly or indirectly cause iatrogenic infertility. Iatrogenic infertility is a
medically induced infertility that can be caused by toxic medications used
for cancer, sickle-cell anemia, lupus, and other life-threatening medical
conditions. For elective patients, a typical egg-freezing cycle costs approximately
$7,000. There are additional fees for medication costs and long-term egg
Some employers may also offer fertility benefits to their employees, which
can include coverage for elective egg freezing. Check with your employer
to see if fertility benefits are part of your compensation package.
There are also financing options available through our fertility loan
How Long Can Eggs Be Frozen?
Once the eggs are frozen, they are essentially in a state of "suspended
time." They do not age. As far as we know, there is no limit to the length of
time eggs or embryos may remain in storage and still be viable. Healthy
children have been born from eggs and embryos frozen more than 20
years ago. In November 2022, for example, an Oregon couple celebrated
the birth of twins who had been frozen as embryos in 1992.
Who Can I Talk to About Egg Freezing?
Our board-certified reproductive endocrinologists can help you explore
your fertility preservation options, including egg freezing. Schedule an
appointment at one of our five Chicago-area clinics today!