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  • Is it worthwhile to freeze your eggs? – Dr Hrishikesh Pai

    Published on March 16, 2022

    Women are debating whether or not to freeze their eggs onscreen and in real life.

    The rise in egg freezing is due to several factors, including:

    • Scientific advancements that have made the procedure safer and more effective
    • The emergence of new startups that offer the service
    • More people are delaying having children

    The decision to freeze your eggs is a profoundly personal one, influenced by a variety of factors such as:

    • The procedure’s success rates
    • Your financial situation
    • Your age.

    In this article, Dr. Hrishikesh Pai from Babies & Us Fertility IVF & ICSI Centre, the excellent IVF center in Mumbai, looks at what we understand about the process—and what we don’t.

    What is the process of freezing eggs?

    Hormone injections are used to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs during the freezing process.

    The eggs are then extracted from the follicles in the patients’ ovaries via minor surgery.

    In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of assisted reproductive technology used to help people conceive naturally.

    While IVF aims to create an embryo implanted in a patient’s body, oocyte cryopreservation stores unfertilized eggs for later use.

    According to Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, a leading Infertility specialist from India, every patient’s experience is unique, but you can expect the following steps during egg freezing:

    • Preliminary assessment: The process starts with a consultation with an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist will conduct tests to assess your ovarian reserve. The doctor can estimate how many eggs they can expect to retrieve from one egg freezing cycle by setting hormone levels and performing an ultrasound. You’re born with all the eggs you’ll ever need, but the quality of those eggs deteriorates as you get older.
    • Scheduling: If you decide to proceed with the procedure, the clinic will work with you to schedule it around your menstrual cycle.
    • Hormone injections: These medications are usually administered by injection. Following that, you’ll be given hormone injections every day for one to two weeks. You’ll visit the clinic regularly during this time so the specialist can observe follicle growth and hormone statuses and adjust your dosage if necessary.
    • Retrieval day: You’ll take a “trigger shot” to force the release of eggs once your follicles have reached a specific size. You’ll go in for the procedure 36 hours after that shot: A doctor will use a transvaginal needle to extract eggs from follicles while you’re asleep. In general, 10-15 mature eggs should be removed from a single cycle, but some patients produce fewer.
    • Put those oocytes on ice: It would be helpful to be informed of the number of mature eggs retrieved from the procedure shortly after completion. These eggs will then be given to an embryologist and stored at -196°F (-126.7°C), where all biological activity, including aging, will cease.

    Some women may go through multiple cycles to obtain more eggs. This is because not all eggs will develop into embryos.

    The more eggs you have frozen, the better your chances of having a healthy embryo that will lead to living birth, especially as you get older.

    Once your eggs are frozen, there is no limit to how long you can keep them.

    If you choose to utilize the eggs later, they will be thawed and fertilized with sperm to create an embryo that may result in a prosperous pregnancy, finishing the IVF procedure where egg freezing exited.

    Egg freezing and retrieval may have Potential consequences.

    New fertility businesses have started to advertise egg freezing as a condition of self-care in recent years.

    Marketing strategies can help women navigate a healthcare system that has long been unwelcome and discriminatory.

    However, according to Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, an excellent IVF specialist from Mumbai, “it can also give the impression that [egg freezing] is less of a big deal than it is.”

    In reality, there are risks and side effects associated with egg freezing. The most severe threat is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, affecting about 5% of IVF and egg freezing cycles.

    This is an exaggerated response to excess hormones that can cause:

    • Bloating
    • Vomiting
    • Blood clots
    • Other symptoms

    Fertility drugs can also cause side effects in many women, including:

    • Mood swings
    • Nausea
    • Insomnia
    • Other symptoms

    Freezing your eggs can be a time-consuming and emotionally draining process, which isn’t always well-publicized.

    A study of 200 patients who had their eggs frozen found that 16 percent regretted their decision, owing to concerns about not producing enough eggs, a lack of knowledge about the procedure, or a lack of emotional support.

    More women have frozen their eggs abroad in recent years rather than having the procedure done domestically because some nations deliver egg freezing at a considerably lower price on average.

    More employers and states are beginning to cover fertility benefits, so if you have health insurance, check to see if egg freezing is covered.

    Is it worthwhile to freeze your eggs?

    Many factors influence patients’ decisions to freeze their eggs, prioritize career goals, wait for the right partner to start a family, or plan with a same-sex partner.

    Because most people that freeze their eggs never use them, it’s difficult to say how booming the intermediate process is.

    Because numerous patients freeze their eggs to get naturally pregnant or choose not to have children, usage rates for frozen eggs range from 3% to 9%.

    The age at which you freeze your eggs influences your chances of success. Younger women, on average, produce more eggs during a single egg freezing cycle.

    Those eggs are also more likely to be of higher quality, which means they have a better chance of developing into an embryo that will result in a healthy, live birth.

    Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, an expert IVF specialist from Mumbai, estimates that 65 percent of embryos from women that freeze their eggs before 35 will be genetically average.

    Women that freeze their eggs at the age of 41 or 42 can expect only 30% of their eggs to produce healthy embryos.

    Thawing problems are also linked to getting older. According to a study, women who froze their eggs before the age of 36 had a 95% chance of successfully thawing them, while women over that age had an 85% chance.

    However, a successful thaw does not always imply a viable pregnancy. A 37-year-old woman who freezes ten eggs, for example, has a 50% chance of producing a live birth with one of those oocytes, according to the researchers’ calculator.

    Age can affect your chances of success, depending on how long you wait to use your eggs.

    IVF has a higher rate of live-birth deliveries when patients are younger, regardless of whether eggs are used right away or frozen for later use. Many patients feel more relaxed after freezing their eggs.

    Understandably, they would seek peace of mind in a world where women face difficult decisions and a lot of pressure about when, whether, and how to have a child.

    However, they should keep in mind that the return on investment from freezing eggs is not guaranteed. “Egg freezing is a safety net,” says Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, a masterful IVF specialist from Mumbai, “but it’s not a guarantee of a baby.”

    However, a plan with no guarantees can still be a good investment for some women.


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