If you are not well-versed in the the assisted reproduction technology, you may become confused when the egg freezing is discussed vs. embryo freezing. And really, what's the difference?
There is a significant difference, particularly when a patient has ethical or moral concerns. An embryo is a fertilized egg. When an embryo is frozen, it is an egg that has been retrieved from the female and fertilized "in vitro," meaning outside the body or in the lab with the male partner's sperm or donor sperm. The embryo is then frozen for a later embryo transfer. Embryo freezing has been performed since the 1980s with the embryos left over after an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure.
Even though embryo freezing is routine, there are some who have moral or ethical issues with freezing embryos, particularly if they consider fertilization as the point at which life begins. Egg freezing offers a solution. Women who do not have a partner and want to preserve their fertility or couples who undergo IVF and have concerns about freezing embryos can freeze the unfertilized eggs instead.
In the country of Malta, for example, a draft IVF bill introduces the concept of egg freezing because it skirts the ethical dilemmas of leaving "unclaimed" frozen embryos in storage. As the country's House of Representatives started debating the bill, both sides agreed that "life starts at conception or fertilization," thus the embryo should be "protected." Controversially, the proposed bill outlaws embryo freezing.
If you are considering IVF or want to preserve your fertility due to medical or elective reasons, but have concerns about banking embryos (or do not consider embryo freezing an option for ethical, religious or moral reasons) then egg freezing offers you another option.
Click Here to find an egg freezing expert.
November 20, 2012
Posted by Leigh Ann Woodruff