Dr. Kelly Baek, a board certified physician in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, is credited for bringing egg freezing to California Fertility Partners where she currently practices.
California Fertility Partners is a Los Angeles fertility clinic dedicated to helping people build families. The practice has been at the forefront of this highly specialized area for more than 30 years and is responsible for some of the world’s first IVF babies.
Dr. Baek recently answered questions about egg freezing at CFP.
How long has CFP been performing egg freezing?
It’s a technique I brought on when I joined the practice. Our scientific director who is actually a cryobiologist was at NYU when I was there as well, his name is Dr. Li Meng. He’s done over 3,000 cycles, he’s a leading expert. So we’ve been performing egg freezing since 2010 when we were able to recruit him.
Who are you offering egg freezing services to? What types of patients?
Our patients are typically women who are not ready to have children, as well as women who have been diagnosed with cancer and want fertility preservation. But for these women, it has to be medically appropriate. So if it’s a woman with diminished ovarian reserve, even if they’re younger, we will review all their options. It’s not just a given that we would recommend egg freezing.
What does your clinic consider the optimal age for egg freezing? Do you have a cut-off age?
Egg freezing is optimal for a younger woman. The younger you do it, the higher the associated pregnancy rates. We don’t have an age cut off, but we always review the physiology of the egg and whether there is the higher likelihood of a chromosomal abnormality.
Once eggs are frozen, where are they stored?
The eggs are stored onsite.
How long do you feel eggs can be stored safely?
We don’t have an expiration date. But clearly I try to advise my patients to use them prior to the age when complications can increase. We always review what they would do with the egg should they decide not to use it.
Is there a cut-off age that you recommend for women to have eggs thawed, fertilized and transferred in a cycle?
It’s not necessarily a cut off age, it’s rather based on their own medical history. If they have no medical complications I really recommend that they conceive, transfer and deliver before age 45, when complications can begin to occur. If they have other medical issues, then we would address those. W may suggest using a surrogate if there were medical conditions that would keep them from carrying a pregnancy.
Has your clinic had live births from frozen eggs? How many?
Yes, we’ve about a handful. The primary reason is because most of the women who have frozen their eggs have not come back to thaw them. And we only started in 2010. The ones who did come back to thaw them were women who had gotten married, met a life partner or had frozen their eggs for social reasons, such as work related reasons.
What is the price range for freezing eggs, and what does that range cover?
The price range really depends on the medications. They are behind the biggest variations. So if you don’t require a lot of medication it is a lot less.
What are the reasons a woman would NOT be a good candidate for freezing her eggs?
If she really doesn’t have any eggs is a big reason. Or if she is much older.
What should a woman look for in a clinic that does egg freezing?
What she should look for is not only the experience of the physician retrieving your eggs, but also who will be freezing your eggs. You should find out who the cryobiologist is and what their experience is. I think that is very critical and I don’t think people realize that. You’ll want to know if that cryobiologist has thawed eggs and what their survival thaw rate is, what their fertilization rate is, what their live birth rate is, if they’ve had any.