Talking Egg Freezing with Shady Grove

Shady Grove Fertility Center

Shady Grove Fertility Center (SGFC) has 16 full-service offices and five satellite locations throughout the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore Metropolitan areas. Eric Widra, M.D., one of SCFC's reproductive endocrinologists, recently answered questions about egg freezing for 

 How long has SGFC been performing egg freezing?

We have been offering egg freezing to women facing cancer treatment of other fertiity-threatening medical procedures for many years. We have been offering it electively for about two years.

Who are you offering egg freezing services to? What types of patients?

We offer it to women facing fertility-threatening medical treatments as metioned above if it is safe in tems of procedures and time. Electively, no one yet knows who the "ideal" woman is for egg freezing. If we offer it to very young women, there is such a small chance they will need it that it may be a waste of resources. At the other end o the spectrum, once a woman nears 40 or older, the quality of the eggs may be so compromised that it's a false sense of security for them.

What does your fertility clinic consider the optimal age for egg freezing?  What are the criteria?

RIght now, we think that age 32 to 38 is the 'sweet spot' for this technlogy, but there is no way to know for sure. We have seen many women closer to and over 40 who have excellent ovarian reserve and do very well in terms of the numbers of the eggs they produce. Conversely, there is a subseet of younger women with poor reserve who only produce a few eggs. When advising patients of the pros and cons of preservation, we look at age as well as the measures of ovarian reserve — FSH, AMH and antral follicle count. It is importatnt to remember, however, that these really only predict egg quantity. Egg quality will only be revealed after fertilization and embryo development.

Once eggs are frozen, where are they stored?

In our facility in Rockville.

How long do you feel eggs can be stored safely?

Again, we don't yet know the answer to this with certainty, but the data from sperm, embryos and animals strongly suggest that there is no real limit.

Is there a cut-off age that you recommend for women to have eggs thawed, fertilized and transferred in a cycle?

We haven't addressed this question yet as most of the women who have frozen their eggs are still relatively young. We currently have an age cut-off of 51 for using donor eggs.

Has your fertility clinic had live births from frozen eggs?

We have had many pregnancies and births from frozen donor eggs; however, the number of patients who have come back for electively or medically frozen eggs is very small, and I don't have good data on those outcomes right now.

What is the price range for freezing eggs, and what does that range cover?

Approximately $6,000 to $8,000. This includes the treament monitoring, retrieval, freezing and one year of storage. Medications are additional, and. depending on the patient can vary widely — from a low of approx. $1,500 to a high of several thousand dollars per cycle.

What are the reasons a woman would NOT be a good candidate for freezing her eggs?

Older age and poor ovarian reserve are the most important; however, I think very young women should also be discouraged form using this technology.

What is the most exciting aspect of ASRM lifting the experimental label? How do you think this will change the face of fertility treatment?

Two pieces: One, I think it opens the door to better insurance coverage for patients facing chemotheray or other medical treatments. Two, it will help improve the technology, especially for banking donor eggs as clinics gain more experience.

What should a woman look for in a clinic that does egg freezing?

Experience with the techniques in a sufficient number of patients over time.

If you are interested in egg freezing, CLICK HERE and we will will put you in contact with Shady Grove or a fertility clinic near you!

December 7, 2012
Posted by Leigh Ann Woodruff

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