About Egg Freezing in Los Angeles, CA
Egg freezing is a revolutionary technique that provides women who need to delay pregnancy, for medical or for elective reasons, fertility options. The primary predictor of pregnancy success is the age of the egg. Therefore as women age, pregnancy rates decline and miscarriage rates increase. Freezing eggs at a younger age allows women to take advantage of the higher pregnancy rates associated with their youth for use in the future when they are older whether it is for a second child or when natural conception does not occur. Since there is no guarantee of success even when women have frozen eggs, women are encouraged to re-evaluate their fertility goals regularly so that they can make informed decisions especially when having a genetic child is desired.
Egg freezing and pregnancy rates
To date, there are over 2000 live-births worldwide from thawed frozen eggs. Women freeze eggs for both medical and elective reasons. The number of eggs that should be frozen is based on a woman’s medical history, fertility goals, and age at egg freezing.
Over 50,000 reproductive-aged women are diagnosed with cancer annually in the U.S. Women who require chemotherapy and/ or radiation and/ or surgery of their pelvic organs may consider egg freezing to preserve their fertility if they do not have a sperm provider. Some chemotherapeutic and radiation regimens are toxic to ovaries and destroy eggs forcing women into an early medically induced menopause. Surgery to pelvic organs such as hysterectomies or ovarian resections can also severely lower the number of viable eggs for the future if the blood supply to the ovaries are compromised or microscopic eggs are removed during surgery. Therefore it is critical to harvest and freeze eggs before initiating cancer treatments if your oncologists approve. In the setting of newly diagnosed cancer, eggs are frozen using protocols that minimize any delay of cancer treatments.
Women who require surgical removal or her ovary(ies) or uterus for benign indications may also consider egg freezing if their surgeons approve. Harvesting eggs and freezing them for future use provides options when surgical procedures may remove or lower the number of women’s lifetime egg stores.
Other women who may consider egg freezing to preserve their fertility options include anyone who may lose their ovarian activity at an earlier age. These conditions include those with a strong family history of premature ovarian failure (premature menopause) who are at risk of losing their ovarian activity at an earlier age, endometriosis, congenital anomalies, autoimmune disorders, and chronic illnesses such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis that may require medications that are toxic to eggs.
Women who want a genetic child but are not in a position to conceive presently to pursue educational, professional, or other personal goals may freeze their eggs at a younger age to keep their fertility options open when they are older. Some women who decide to start having children at an older age also may choose to freeze eggs for the future for a second child and then start trying to conceive their first child naturally. If conception does not occur and they fail other reproductive techniques, they may then may choose to use the frozen eggs as their best attempt for a genetic child. Finally, some women choose egg freezing when they object to freezing embryos for moral and/or religious reasons.
Egg freezing stimulation cycles are similar to IVF. The difference occurs only following the egg retrieval when eggs are vitrified or flash frozen and stored rather than fertilized. We vitrify eggs at California Fertility Partners because eggs have high water content. Therefore the greatest challenge in the past when developing the egg freezing process was that eggs would “crack” because water expands as it freezes. Therefore, vitrification, where eggs are flash frozen avoids this risk of water expansion and damage to eggs.
Our practice, California Fertility Partners, is responsible for some of this country’s first IVF and frozen embryo babies. We are committed to individualizing treatment and providing personalized care for women because we believe strongly that synchronizing of follicles with IVF stimulation and the timing of triggering ovulation for egg retrieval is critical to harvesting quality viable eggs for future use.
Please contact our office to consult with one of our fertility specialists to assess whether or not egg freezing is medically appropriate for you.