Egg freezing is gaining popularity as more women choose to take out an insurance policy on their future fertility. Among the most important factors in deciding whether or not to freeze their eggs are cost and success rates. With the relatively new procedure of social egg freezing, how can women make sense of currently published statistics on reproductive technology to make an educated decision on preserving their fertility?
The first step in understanding the technology is to learn the difference between the newest technique, vitrification, and the older slow-freeze method of egg freezing. Vitrification rapidly cools the eggs in less than sixty seconds which allows for minimal ice crystal formation and maintains the structural integrity of the cell. Dr. Spencer Richlin, an egg freezing expert with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut explains: “With the slow freeze method, ice crystals can damage the structures that hold chromosomes within the egg. With vitrification, we use ultra-rapid cooling so the cell becomes solid like a glass structure.”
Chromosomal damage within the egg could impair survival rates post-thaw or lead to miscarriage if pregnancy is achieved with that egg. “If you take the plunge and decide to freeze your eggs, you want to know that your [fertility clinic] is using the most advanced, greatest technology. Eggs are precious, you want to the chance to use all or most of them,” Richlin says. Vitrification has vastly improved survival rates for frozen eggs. Where slow freeze yields only 60-70% survival rate post-thaw, vitrification boasts a 90% survival rate.
Currently, there is a dearth of published data on egg freezing as fertility clinics are only required to report in vitro fertilization (IVF) success rates to the CDC. This data, however, can provide valuable information to the egg freezing patient.
Of particular relevance to the egg freezing patient is donor egg IVF data. Egg donors are typically healthy, young women between 20-30 years of age, similar to the demographic of women who are freezing their eggs today. Although the CDC cautions that IVF success rates should not be used to compare clinics, an egg freezing patient could get a better idea of her future pregnancy success by looking at her clinic’s success with frozen donor eggs. We know that pregnancy rates with these frozen donor eggs are comparable to, if not better than, pregnancy rates with fresh eggs-promising news for women considering egg freezing.
The second most common concern about egg freezing is cost. Fortunately, employers are recognizing the benefit of fertility preservation and offering this perk to their female employees who might be focusing on career now and family later. For those without egg freezing benefits, the EggBanxx program can provide low cost egg freezing with an option to finance the procedure for smaller monthly payments.
“This is the opportunity to put your eggs away for later. If you think you should do it, go talk to an egg freezing specialist,” advises Richlin. Because egg quality and quantity declines with age, it is best for a woman to learn about her options as soon as possible. Think of it as a one-on-one educational conference, not necessarily a commitment.
To schedule an egg freezing consultation with an egg freezing specialist near you, contact our Egg Freezing Advocates at 855-888-3447.