Once the domain of science fiction novels and dubiously scripted Hollywood films, cryogenics has revolutionised the fertility landscape since the first freezer baby landed back in the 1980s.
Refined techniques of freezing and a growing trend in women waiting until later in life to have children (in 2018, the average age of mothers rose for the tenth year running to 30.6 years according to the Office for National Statistics), have brought egg freezing to the forefront.
What is egg freezing?
Firstly, it involves up to two weeks of follicle-stimulating hormone injections, which cause your ovaries to produce a high number of eggs.
Once your eggs are ripe and ready, they’re collected from your uterus while you’re sedated, before being immediately frozen and placed in storage ready for use at a later date. Eggs can remain frozen for up to ten years; sometimes beyond, in rare circumstances.
Why do women freeze their eggs?
Women freeze their eggs for both medical and social reasons; the latter becoming more of a talking point, in part due to celebrity exposure.
Women undergoing chemotherapy, which can cause infertility, may choose to freeze their eggs. Also, those undergoing gender transition may wish to freeze their eggs prior to beginning hormone therapy or surgery, as a method of safeguarding their fertility.
The onset, or risk, of early menopause can also prompt women to decide to freeze their eggs, in a bid to retain the potential for child bearing.
For those not yet ready to conceive due to a range of social factors - such as a demanding career or having not yet met that special someone - egg freezing offers the opportunity to put family life on hold, without relinquishing the prospect of procreation for good.
How much does it cost to freeze my eggs?
The cost of egg freezing (including hormone injections and retrieval) is between £3,350-£5,000. With added annual storage, thawing and embryo transfer costs weighing in at around £3,000+, meaning the total process can cost around £8,000.
What is the best age to freeze my eggs?
According to a recent report by the HFEA, the optimum time for freezing eggs is under the age of 35.
What are the risks?
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a reaction to fertility drugs which results in too many eggs developing in the ovaries causing them to become painful and swell is one risk to be mindful of. Some women develop a mild form of this during treatment, but others can react severely and in some cases the condition can become life-threatening.
Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara froze her eggs in 2013, whilst singer Celine Dion went on to have her ‘freezer babies’ eight-years after egg collection. Closer to home, British singer Rita Ora took her fertility into her own hands in her early 20s, freezing her eggs during her prime fertility years.
If you’d like to know more about egg freezing, we’d be egg-ceedingly happy to help. Why not take our Hertility Health questionnaire and let us help guide you along the fertility path.
If you’re ready to start tracking your fertility, or have any questions about your overall female health, we’d love to help you out. Why not join our waitlist and we’ll let you know when we’re live so we can help guide you along the fertility path.