If you’re a woman who wants to have a baby someday yet isn’t quite ready to start a family, freezing your eggs for future use can be an excellent option. Formally referred to as oocyte cryopreservation, egg freezing enables women to build their careers and create a sound financial footing for themselves before making the huge commitments demanded by motherhood.
Reasons for Egg Freezing
There are several advantages to freezing your eggs. The following are among the most commonly reported reasons for doing so:
• Because you’re simply not ready. If you haven’t met the right person yet or simply want to travel and have other life experiences first, freezing your eggs provides the option of having children when you are older without the constant pressure of a ticking biological clock to contend with.
• To focus on a career. If you have ambitious professional aspirations, starting a family later in life can better help you to achieve them. Further, waiting until you are older to conceive should leave you in a better financial position to support your child and possibly even enable you to purchase a home.
• When you have medical problems. Cancer treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, can have a significant effect on your fertility. Freezing your eggs before treatment will allow you to have a healthy baby after you are finished, even if you must use a surrogate.
• When you are facing divorce or job loss. Financial uncertainty can make you reconsider becoming a parent. But when your life situation improves, you’ll know you’ll be able to depend on your frozen eggs, even if a few years have passed and you haven’t met a new partner.
Before you freeze your eggs, however, there are a few other factors to consider:
• The process is expensive. If you need to have eggs extracted more than once, and many women do, the costs can quickly add up. You will also have to pay for the actual storage of the eggs. This can run into hundreds of dollars every year. If you’re struggling financially, egg freezing may well be out of reach for you.
• Some eggs will be lost. Even if you have your eggs harvested numerous times, it’s likely that some of them will not be usable in the future. The reasons for this include not freezing, thawing or fertilizing properly, as well as not being implanted at the right stage. The birth rate for frozen eggs is currently only about 18 percent.
• The eggs may not result in a pregnancy. Generally, the younger you are when you have your eggs harvested the better, but that’s no guarantee of having a baby later on. Your age, your health, and the sperm used all play a role in a successful pregnancy.
• A pregnancy may be high risk. If you’re over age 38 when you decide to become pregnant, your pregnancy is likely to be more complicated and carry more risks, even if your eggs were harvested in your 20s. This is something you will need to discuss with your doctor.
• You may never use the eggs. There are many reasons for this, including aging, life circumstances, a spontaneous pregnancy or simply changing your mind about having children. In this potential scenario, you will have spent a great deal of money for nothing.
Freezing your eggs is a big, important decision. You must consider your life and work situation, your finances, whether you want a partner or would prefer to raise your child alone. Speaking with a health professional and thoroughly researching nearby fertility clinics and egg freezing facilities will help you to make the right choices about your potential future family.