Five Personal Accounts of Navigating Egg Freezing – Hertility-image

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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:

  1. Preliminary tests – Pre-treatment blood tests and pelvic ultrasound scans are carried out to determine if you are viable for egg freezing.
  2. 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.
  3. 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℃.
  4. Egg storage – Your frozen eggs are stored at your local clinic. You will have to pay storage costs to keep your eggs frozen.
  5. Egg thawing – When you’re ready to start a family through fertility treatment, your eggs are thawed ready for fertilisation.
  6. 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. 
  7. 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. 

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. 

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. 


“I thought I knew everything about egg freezing, at least from a scientific standpoint. I’d supervised procedures, sat in on consultations, educated women and delivered lectures on treatments. 


“But when it came to undergoing the process myself, as a patient, it was a completely different experience. 

“I definitely didn’t fully appreciate the physical toll it would take, how draining it would be emotionally, or how much I would have to relinquish control to the process and just let my body do what it needed to do in response to the treatment. 

“Probably the biggest thing I came to appreciate was how much I needed to slow down. As a founder, there is an enormous pressure to be available 24/7, and as a woman, for everything to be done perfectly. There often doesn’t feel like we are afforded the space to slow down, but I realise now how important that is.

“The whole process made me have a much deeper appreciation of the lack of education and awareness out there about alternative routes to parenthood. If you’re thinking about undergoing treatment, get as much info as possible. Support is out there no matter what your circumstance is’.”

Personal Account 2: Asher’s Egg Freezing Journey

“I discovered the importance of [egg freezing] the same day that I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and recommended for Testosterone HRT. Luckily, this is when I was introduced to Hertility – finally some humane guidance, clarity and crucially being seen and understood as a trans person.

“The whole process became much clearer and felt more manageable, and honestly I started to feel inspired by the gift of being able to do this. The actual process wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined, especially in relation to triggering my dysphoria.

Personal Account 3: Georgia Habboo’s Egg Freezing Journey

“The reason I did this was that I had not had a period since coming off the pill (it had been 3.5 years) and I literally was getting no answers from doctors after 10,000 tests. I did the hormone testing kit which I’m SO grateful for.

“My AMH, which is an indicator of your egg reserve (ovarian reserve), was really low – within the range of a 55-65-year-old, so they recommended that I freeze my eggs straight away

Personal Account 4: Daniella Abraham’s Egg Freezing Journey

“At age 30, I wasn’t anywhere near ready to have a baby. Although I wanted the option to have kids in the future, I didn’t want to feel pressured into trying sooner than I might have done just because of my ‘biological clock’. Honestly, the hardest part was deciding if the process was right for me, but in the end, I’m so glad I chose to do it.

“Freezing my eggs has given me reassurance that I didn’t need to rush into making any major life decisions and given me peace of mind that I will have the option to start a family in the future when I’m ready to.”

Personal Account 5: Mish’s Egg Freezing Journey

“As I approached 35, I knew I wanted to freeze my eggs. I didn’t want to feel pressured to have a baby just because of my biology. But I had no idea if I would be able to  – I knew you can only get screened on the NHS if you’re trying, so I assumed I would just have to wait until then.

“That’s when I found Hertility. I took a Hertility test which allowed me to see if I had any issues in advance of starting the process. It also meant I didn’t have to pay for any extra tests when I started my first egg-freezing cycle.”

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

Deciding whether or not to freeze your eggs is a massive decision that affects your life physically, emotionally and physiologically. You have to ask yourself questions like:

  • 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.

 

Research reference links:

  1. https://www.hfea.gov.uk/treatments/explore-all-treatments/
  2. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/infertility/conditioninfo/fertilitypreservation
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4467930/#:~:text=Perhaps%20the%20most%20important%20medical,such%20as%20ovarian%20hyperstimulation%20syndrome
  4. https://learn.hertilityhealth.com/download-guide-to-getting-pregnant?lid=qzaq0280dk0z&utm_source=braze&utm_campaign=proactive_guide&utm_medium=email&utm_term=615587
  5. https://learn.hertilityhealth.com/the-inequality-report?lid=tsjf9yiqpg9p&utm_source=braze&utm_campaign=inequality_report&utm_medium=email&utm_term=615587
  6. https://learn.hertilityhealth.com/hubfs/Reproductive%20Report.pdf?lid=y3azsulgm61k&utm_source=braze&utm_campaign=reproductive_report&utm_medium=email&utm_term=615587 
  7. https://learn.hertilityhealth.com/hubfs/EGG%20FREEZING%20GUIDE.pdf?lid=wk1wmzi0gr7c&utm_source=braze&utm_campaign=egg_freezing_guide&utm_medium=email&utm_term= 
  8. https://hertilityhealth.com/blog/research-news-fertility-preservation-outcome-study-in-cancer-patients/
  9. https://hertilityhealth.com/blog/research-news-real-world-outcomes-of-egg-freezing/
  10. https://hertilityhealth.com/blog/fertility-preservation-protecting-your-parenthood-plans
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