Five Personal Accounts of Navigating Egg Freezing – Hertility
For women or those assigned-female-at-birth, society ensures that as we age, we’re hyper-aware of our declining fertility.
Jokes about our ticking ‘biological clocks’, extended family constantly asking when we’re going to ‘settle down’ and even trying to navigate company maternity policies—it can feel really overwhelming.
There are many different pathways to parenthood and for a lot of people, either for medical or social reasons, their fertility timeline just doesn’t line up with where they are at in their personal or professional lives.
Luckily, advances in reproductive science are enabling many people to access fertility treatments, like egg freezing, to preserve their fertility.
We spoke to five people, all with different circumstances, who have undergone egg freezing. We hope these accounts can help you to understand a little bit more about the egg freezing experience.
A Deeper Dive into Egg Freezing
The egg freezing process (known medically as ‘oocyte cryopreservation’) is a fertility preservation method and medical procedure that involves having your unfertilised eggs surgically removed from your ovaries, frozen and stored in a lab until you’re ready to use them.
You may choose to freeze your eggs if you want to have children in the future, but aren’t ready to yet. As you age, the quantity and quality of your eggs decline, which means your chance of getting pregnant does too. Freezing your eggs will preserve their quality, as they are now, for if and when you become ready to use them.
There are two types of egg freezing:
- Social egg freezing, also known as elective egg freezing. This is when you freeze your eggs because of age-related fertility concerns or societal factors.
- Medical egg freezing is egg freezing because of a medical diagnosis or treatment that could cause premature infertility. Early menopause or premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids, cancer, cancer treatments and gender-affirming care can all cause premature infertility.
Wondering how the physical process of egg freezing works? An egg-freezing cycle involves several different stages:
- Preliminary tests – Pre-treatment blood tests and pelvic ultrasound scans are carried out to determine if you are viable for egg freezing.
- Stimulation – Fertility medications are prescribed and taken alongside injections in order to stimulate follicles and prompt the growth of multiple eggs within your ovaries. Once the eggs have grown to the required size, a trigger injection is given which pushes them to the final stages of maturity.
- Egg retrieval – Your mature eggs are retrieved under general anaesthesia or sedation. During the procedure, the mature eggs are removed from your ovaries. Viable eggs are frozen and preserved in liquid nitrogen at around -196℃.
- Egg storage – Your frozen eggs are stored at your local clinic. You will have to pay storage costs to keep your eggs frozen.
- Egg thawing – When you’re ready to start a family through fertility treatment, your eggs are thawed ready for fertilisation.
- Egg-freezing can be incredibly empowering—allowing you to control your family planning timeline and focus on your personal and professional life, or any medical treatment, without having to worry about your fertility decline.
- However, it can be an intensely emotional journey full of ups and downs, with financial strain, daily injections, and hormonal changes that can affect your mental and physical health.
Egg-freezing can be incredibly empowering—allowing you to control your family planning timeline and focus on your personal and professional life, or any medical treatment, without having to worry about your fertility decline.
Remember—if you’re going through this process, Hertility’s fertility counsellors can support you through these challenges.
While the procedure is generally safe, there is a small risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which is a condition that can happen in response to fertility medication. For more information, read our egg-freezing guide.
Personal Account 1: Natalie Getreu’s Egg Freezing Journey
Ovarian biologist and one of our very own co-founders, Dr Natalie, had a unique egg freezing experience after having been both a fertility practitioner and patient.
Personal Account 2: Asher’s Egg Freezing Journey
Personal Account 3: Georgia Habboo’s Egg Freezing Journey
Personal Account 4: Daniella Abraham’s Egg Freezing Journey
Personal Account 5: Mish’s Egg Freezing Journey
The Financial Commitment
Health inequalities have resulted in there still being big financial barriers for many people wanting to access egg-freezing. It can cost up to £8,000 per cycle. The NHS sometimes offers funding for freezing if you have a specific health condition that affects fertility, such as if you are undergoing cancer treatment.
If you are looking to undergo egg freezing, ensure you research the process, including the costs, and seek support.
The sooner you consider egg freezing, the more time you have to save and prepare financially.
Tips for Those Considering Egg Freezing
Set Realistic Expectations
Egg freezing offers you empowerment and peace of mind for future fertility, but it’s vital to remember it doesn’t guarantee conception, pregnancy, or live birth. Numerous factors, besides eggs, affect fertility.
HFEA research indicated an 18% success rate for females using their own eggs and 30% for females using frozen donor eggs to get pregnant. Our recent study with 373 females revealed that 36 actually used their frozen eggs, and out of those, 12% got pregnant.
The Role of Age in Egg Freezing
Research suggests that it’s better to freeze your eggs before the age of 36 for the best chance of pregnancy. The younger you are when you have your eggs frozen, the more likely they are to lead to pregnancy and live birth.
Physical and Emotional Challenges
- Do I have the right support around me?
- Do I have all the information I need?
- Am I in the right place emotionally?
- Can I manage the costs of egg freezing?
Personal experiences can offer valuable insights into making informed decisions on your reproductive health. Hertility provides expert insights, up-to-date research, unbiased data, and science-backed information to guide you through the egg-freezing process. Explore our egg-freezing guide and speak with our fertility advisors to determine if egg-freezing is right for you.
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