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Egg Freezing Gives You Options but Has Risks

Sept. 22, 2017 — On a wet weekday night in a strip mall within the posh Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, a gaggle of women met in a wine tasting room. They had gathered for a 21-and-over occasion involving wine, chocolate — and a dialogue about find out how to freeze their eggs.

“Age impacts success,” Kathryn Calhoun, MD, stated to the 10 or so 20- and 30-somethings attending the occasion this summer time. Calhoun is a female infertility specialist on the Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine, which sponsored the occasion.

Infertility clinics have used egg freezing “parties” for a number of years as a strategy to get the phrase out about their providers. Interested women can ask questions, speak to specialists, and listen to from women who’ve gone via the method.

Although most cancers sufferers hoping to protect their fertility might attempt egg freezing, docs say they’re seeing extra curiosity within the process from women who might not have a health cause for doing so.

Success charges for egg freezing, which has been round because the 1980s, have risen with a more moderen course of that “flash freezes” the eggs, referred to as vitrification. In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine declared egg freezing was not experimental.

Companies akin to Facebook, Google, and Apple are amongst people who supply insurance protection of egg freezing for workers.

Nina Desai, PhD, director of the In Vitro Fertilization Lab at Cleveland Clinic, says she has seen that extra sufferers have an interest within the process, notably women who work in tech corporations that cowl it. Freezing eggs could be empowering to women, as a result of it permits them to “… have a little insurance policy so when they do find the right person, that they will still be able to have a child that is genetically their own,” says Desai.

Vitaly A. Kushnir, MD, on the Center for Human Reproduction in New York City, says he has additionally seen that extra women need to freeze their eggs. He cautions women about advertising campaigns to freeze eggs for social causes — akin to not having a companion — that aren’t associated to health.

Guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine “… explicitly advise against social egg freezing,” he says.

“There’s been a lot more marketing on behalf of fertility centers towards social egg freezing, but there has also been a demand from patients coming in and asking for it,” Kushnir says.

Why Women Freeze Their Eggs

Calhoun says women come into her clinic for 3 causes:

  • They have been recognized with cancer and are about to have remedy which will have an effect on their fertility.
  • They are donating their eggs for others and freeze some as nicely.
  • They need to have youngsters sometime but aren’t at some extent the place they’re able to, both as a consequence of profession or relationships.

“If you’re in any respect contemplating starting a family and you aren’t essentially precisely the place you need to be for any purpose, it’s a good suggestion to return in and speak to a fertility specialist about freezing eggs, or about different choices. So I feel information is certainly energy and there are plenty of choices,” Calhoun says.

The course of isn’t low cost.

While prices differ relying on location and insurance coverage, Calhoun says the typical value with out insurance coverage is about $9,800, together with the primary yr of storage.

Success charges additionally range. In 2013, 23.7% of reside births resulted from both recent (accomplished inside 24 hours) or frozen eggs. Of those that turned pregnant from their frozen eggs, 81.three% resulted in a reside start.

Eggs can’t be examined to see in the event that they’re viable earlier than freezing, due to the potential to wreck them. Calhoun says they solely freeze “mature” eggs which have already had some cell division and usually tend to be efficiently fertilized sooner or later.

Calhoun says she sees a barely larger success price with embryos, somewhat than frozen eggs. But that is not all the time potential. “You both need to have a associate or it’s a must to decide to utilizing donor sperm,”she says.

Jessie Wurzinger, a affected person on the Atlanta clinic, says she was impressed to attempt egg freezing by her sister-in-law, who turned pregnant and had a toddler after doing in vitro fertilization.

“We had a weekend with our family at the beach to celebrate his first birthday, and I was so touched by that, I thought about the fact that I was 32, super single, annoyed with the males, and wanted to take some control over my fate a little bit,” stated Wurzinger, now 33. “I also didn’t want the fact that I was focused on my career to hurt the potential life of my child.”

Wurzinger needed to give herself every day hormone photographs for greater than every week to stimulate egg progress. About 2 weeks earlier than the egg removing, she needed to go for blood testing each day, together with weekends, to see if the photographs have been working or if changes have been wanted.

After docs efficiently eliminated her eggs, Wurzinger waited about four weeks earlier than getting again into her common health routine.

“Don’t let the money scare you, and find someone to talk to,” Wurzinger says. Because it’s costly, younger women might begin saving cash for it after which use it for one thing else in the event that they determine to not undergo with it, she says.

Egg Freezing Risks

Desai says women contemplating the process want to understand that the older they’re, the more durable it’s to develop into pregnant. “The cost effectiveness is greater if you are younger. As you get older, 39 and over, egg freezing will require multiple cycles,” she says.


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Kushnir says women ought to contemplate the dangers earlier than shifting ahead.

The medicine used to stimulate the ovaries can typically trigger ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Symptoms vary from bloating and dehydration to probably life-threatening blood clots, he says. Bleeding can occur the place the needle is inserted, and there are anesthesia dangers. Most women may have a number of rounds of this remedy to get sufficient eggs, Kushnir says. Long-term social and medical dangers are usually not actually recognized, he says.

“There have even been centers set up specifically focused on this,” Kushnir stated, “so not traditional fertility centers that provide all sorts of infertility treatments, but just centers that only focus on egg freezing … and that’s really problematic because they have no outcome data whatsoever because no one gets pregnant in their center. So they could freeze eggs from hundreds of women but have absolutely no results to show from it for years.”

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine cautions that there’s not sufficient knowledge now to know all of the attainable dangers, saying in its tips, “while short-term data appear reassuring, long-term data on developmental outcomes and safety data in diverse (older) populations are lacking.”


Kathryn Calhoun, MD, Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine.

Jessie Wurzinger, 33, affected person testimonial spokeswoman, Atlanta.

Vitaly A. Kushnir, MD, Center for Human Reproduction, New York City.

Nina Desai, PhD, director, In Vitro Fertilization Lab, Cleveland Clinic.

Fertility and Sterility: “Cryopreserved oocyte versus fresh oocyte assisted reproductive technology cycles, United States, 2013.”

Fertility and Sterility: “Mature Oocyte Cryopreservation: a Guideline.”

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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