Rocky Mountain Fertility Center is a fertility clinic with offices in Colorado and South Dakota. Deborah Smith, M.D., the medical director of the center, recently answered questions about egg freezing.
Who are you offering egg freezing services to? What types of patients?
At RMFC we offer egg freezing to women of reproductive age, between the ages of 16 and 38 yrs who wishes to cryopreserve their eggs and store them if they fall into one of the following categories:
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments to treat a medical condition (such as cancer or rheumatologic diseases). Egg banking must take place before treatment begins.
- Patients that have a medical condition that increases their risk of early menopause.
- Woman who are undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) to treat infertility, but the sperm sample required to fertilize the eggs is not available (e.g. partner is unavailable, unable to collect a sample or frozen samples did not arrive in time for the procedure)
- Women who are unable to consent to freezing of embryos for ethical or religious reasons.
- Woman who wish to freeze their eggs for social (lifestyle) reasons who still have good quality oocytes.
- Woman participating in one of our research studies
What does your clinic consider the optimal age for egg freezing?
To date, there have been no ongoing pregnancies reported in women over 38 from frozen eggs. This is mostly due to lower age cutoffs in most of the egg freezing research studies. Since we do not know if eggs from women over 38 years of age will create viable pregnancies at the same rate as those from women 38 years of age or less, or even at the same rate as fresh eggs in women over 38, we have limited the egg freezing age to 38 years until further research is performed to determine the optimal age to stop performing egg freezing.
Once eggs are frozen, where are they stored?
At Rocky Mountain Fertility Center frozen eggs are stored on site.
How long do you feel eggs can be stored safely?
We freeze eggs in manner similar to the technique used to vitrify embryos. Based on our experience achieving pregnancies with frozen embryos and frozen sperm, we believe that long-term storage of frozen eggs is possible, but there is very limited data on the long term storage potential of eggs.
Is there a cut-off age that you recommend for women to have eggs thawed, fertilized and transferred in a cycle?
At RMFC we use the current ASRM guidelines for the use of donor eggs to determine our age limit for transfer of frozen eggs.
What is the price range for freezing eggs, and what does that range cover?
Currently the cash self-pay price to freeze eggs at RMFC is $7,000. We do participate in the Livestrong Sharing Hope program so patients with Cancer get a reduced price on this egg freezing package price if they are referred thru the Livestrong program. This package does not include any required pre-testing (ie communicable disease screening) and/ or medications needed for the cycle.
What are the reasons a woman would NOT be a good candidate for freezing her eggs?
Since egg freezing involves techniques similar to IVF, patients that are unhealthy to proceed with an egg retrieval, woman who have contraindications to taking fertility medications and women with poor egg quality as determined by ovarian reserve testing would be poor candidates to proceed with egg freezing.
What is the most exciting aspect of ASRM lifting the experimental label? How do you think this will change the face of fertility treatment?
I think the egg freezing is an exciting new technology that allows women faced with health issues to preserve their fertility when they are given a cancer diagnosis or have condition that may lead to premature menopause. It opens the door to women who were reluctant to do IVF because of the ethical issues associated with the creation of excess embryos. I think the technology is going to expand rapidly to egg donation where fewer donor eggs can be utilized per cycle, decreasing costs and lead to the quarantine of frozen donor eggs.
What should a woman look for in a clinic that does egg freezing?
I think patients seeking out fertility care are all looking for different things. I think the best program is one you feel comfortable at (and this is different things to different women), a center you feel like you are receiving individualized care and of course a center that has experience with the egg freezing procedure.
Click here if you are interested in egg freezing, and we will will put you in contact with Rocky Mountain Fertility Center or a fertility clinic near you!