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Egg Freezing 101: What Couples Should Know

An increase in maternal age, not finding the right partner yet, health concerns and a whole lot of other personal reasons lead couples and individuals to egg freezing. Freezing your eggs is an opportunity afforded to females by modern technology and means that biological clock may not tick quite as loudly as before. However, there are many things individuals and couples should know about egg freezing.

What Exactly is Egg Freezing?

The process of egg freezing begins by harvesting female eggs for IVF at a later date. There are four basic steps involved with freezing your eggs. They are:


  • Ovarian Stimulation ensures the highest output of eggs. Your doctor prescribes a hormone medication that helps your ovaries increase the number of mature eggs. Typically, you release one egg per cycle. Ovarian stimulation increases the number.


  • Egg Retrieval happens when your doctor removes the mature eggs from the ovaries. During the procedure, you’re sedated and, using a canola, the doctor extracts the eggs. This is an outpatient procedure and there is very little down time or pain.


  • After egg retrieval the eggs go through a process called vitrification. This is a term for a type of rapid flash freezing. Once frozen your eggs go into a liquid nitrogen tank and on to an embryology lab. Embryology labs employ state of the art monitoring for temperature as well as manual checking of temperatures.


  • When you’re ready your doctor schedules IVF whereby the defrosted egg combines with sperm in a lab setting and the resulting embryo transferred back into your body or that of a gestational carrier.

Is There an Optimum Age for Egg Freezing?

Ideally, your 20s prove the optimum time for harvesting eggs. At this age you statistically have more eggs than older females. Your eggs have a greater chance of viability and robust health at this age. Alas, that isn’t always a possibility. Females over 35 with no immediate plans should consider egg freezing as an option for extending fertility.

What Are the Reasons to Consider Freezing Your Eggs?

Egg freezing was once an option offered only to seriously ill females such as those with certain cancers or facing surgery disruptive to the reproductive organs. Females wishing to extend their fertility beyond optimum age, for various reasons, have egg freezing as an available option. Here are some of the reasons females freeze their eggs:

  • A cancer diagnosis requiring aggressive treatment that may prevent the return of ovulation
  • Surgery for severe endometriosis
  • Gender reassignment surgery
  • A chronic condition or autoimmune disease requiring medication with adverse side effects on ovulation.
  • A family history of premature menopause
  • Reasons entirely your own; you’re just not ready

What are The Side Effects of the Egg Freezing Process?

Side effects are common, but not necessarily severe. They result from an increase of hormones. The most common uncomfortable side effects of ovarian stimulation are:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Hot flashes


After the egg retrieval some females experience mildly uncomfortable symptoms such as:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic pain
  • Cramping
  • Light spotting or minimal bleeding


Most of these side effects respond to bedrest so you may plan for a day off after the procedure. Ask your doctor for pain treatment recommendations.


What Else Should Couples Expect?

Of course, most couples wonder about the financial burden of egg freezing. Since insurance companies’ coverage varies and each situation is unique it’s difficult to anticipate an exact number. However, here are some of the procedures involved in egg freezing:

  • Bloodwork
  • Medication
  • Ultrasounds
  • Egg retrieval procedure
  • Egg freezing process
  • Frozen egg storage


For females, opting for egg freezing squeal to a cancer diagnosis or other medical condition compromising your fertility there may be specific financial coverage, depending on the state in which you live. Some states require insurers pay for egg freezing (fertility preservation) as a need due to a medical diagnosis such as cancer.

When a diagnosis calls for aggressive treatment such as chemotherapy or other strong medications insurers legally must step up according to the laws of the state. Be sure you review your insurance coverage and your state’s requirements.


A Fertility Clinic You Can Trust

Before you freeze your eggs discuss your options with the team at LA IVF. Our compassionate and caring team members understand your desire to grow your family. We will walk with you every step of the journey. It’s more important now than ever before that you have a fertility specialist you can trust. That’s LA IVF. Please schedule a consultation today.

TEL: 310-286-2800 | FAX: 310-691-1116