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Why And Who Should Opt For Egg Freezing

Egg Freezing, Infertility, PCOS

A career-oriented girl or woman is no longer aiming to get married and immediately start a family in their early 20’s. And why not! Being independent financially, emotionally & socially should be basic right of every individual. However, having said that, a woman should also keep a track of her biological clock to prevent infertility later. Does this mean that you need to track your monthly ovulation or keep visiting gynae to keep a check on your fertility health? The answer is – Absolutely not!

All You Need To Do Is – Egg Freezing!

I interviewed many young women from India and different parts of the world to understand what they knew of Egg Freezing! Well, few did know about egg freezing, while some didn’t know at all, and others were confused or had numerous questions on how can it prevent infertility in later stage. But first, let’s understand the significance of ‘EGG’ in women reproductive system.

Is Egg Freezing Right for You? Discover Why & Who Should Consider It

What Is Egg?

Every woman is born with specific number of eggs. The ovaries produce these egg cells which is also called as ova or oocytes. Unfortunately, unlike men, no new egg cells are made ever during the entire life span of a women.

What Is The Role Of Egg In Reproduction?

During the monthly ovulation cycle, an egg is capable of fertilization for about 12 to 24 hours. If you have sex during that time, the male sperm swims up through the female vagina to the uterus and towards the egg. The sperm and egg are gametes. The union of both the gametes in fallopian tube results in fertilization which leads to production of zygote cell. This zygote travels towards the uterus and becomes blastocyst. The blastocyst – the early stage of embryo then attaches itself to the wall of uterus which is called implantation. A successful implantation results in pregnancy.

Important to mention here is, as a woman grows older the quality as well as the quantity of eggs declines with each menstruation cycle. This is the reason why the elders in family say, ‘Plan pregnancy before 30’! But as per the recent trend, Indian youth is either getting married late or planning late pregnancy due to seeking higher education, career stability and health issues. This resulted in – The Rise Of Infertility Cases!

Thanks to ART treatments and the latest technologies that have helped many couples to conceive and achieve their parenthood dreams. But here I am not talking about infertility treatments; I am focusing on educating our readers to prevent infertility by planning it on early stage. One of the best preventive measure is –

  • Egg freezing for women
  • Sperm freezing for men
  • Embryo freezing for couples planning late pregnancy.

What Is Egg Freezing?

Egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation is a technique in which a woman’s eggs or oocytes are extracted, frozen and stored to preserve the reproductive ability of a women to get pregnant in future. This frozen egg can be later thawed and combined with a sperm in an embryology lab to form an embryo with the help of IVF process to achieve conception.

What Is Egg Freezing Process?

Before the actual egg freezing process, your doctor will do some tests like – AMH test, blood tests and pelvic ultrasound. The process is similar to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). It starts with –

Ovarian stimulation – This is done using injectable hormonal medications which helps in development of fluid filled sacs where eggs mature.

Egg Retrieval – This is done under sedation. Through a suction device, multiple eggs are retrieved. Per cycle, 10-15 eggs can be removed. More eggs retrieved, better is the chance of successful pregnancy later.

Freezing – Vitrification is a new and latest cryopreservation technique used of egg freezing.

Vitrification – A Cryopreservation Technique

Vitrification is rapid freezing of eggs, sperms or embryos by adding cryoprotective agents such as salts, sugars, glycerol, FBS, glycols. This cryopreservation process minimizes the DNA damages that is caused due to ice crystal formation.

Earlier, when egg/embryos were frozen, the process was slow which caused formation of ice-crystals in freezing embryos and hence, damaging the DNA. To avoid this, the latest IVF technology – Vitrification process with new cryoprotectant that protects the DNA was invented. Dry Ice and liquid nitrogen are generally used in this method.

Read more about vitrification and 10 Latest IVF Technologies To Increase IVF Success In 2022

Side Effects Of Egg Freezing

I interviewed this young beautiful lady – Mahima Sheth. She is 24 years old, a digital marketer by profession from Mumbai. She was aware of various infertility conditions as well as egg freezing. But she said,

“I don’t think I will ever opt for egg freezing because from what I know, there might be lot of risks in doing this process and egg freezing does not guarantee a successful pregnancy or live birth.”

Mahima Sheth, Digital Marketer, Mumbai

Though I agree that it does not guarantee 100% successful pregnancy but so does natural pregnancy! Even for natural conception, you need to try for at least few months (except for some lucky ones) to conceive. Similarly, in egg freezing process the reason why many eggs are retrieved so that it allows multiple attempts to achieve a successful conception through IVF.

Talking about side-effects, the risks are not life threatening. After the process, some might experience

  • Bloating,
  • Spotting
  • Cramping
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • In rare cases, the stimulation process might cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (HSS).

What Is The Right Age To Freeze Eggs?

Egg freezing process should be opted during your reproductive age. Mostly from mid-20’s and before age 35, as it is believed that women are at their peak of their reproductive health. The eggs are of best quality and more eggs can be retrieved during this age giving a better chance of successful pregnancy.

While interviewing Prachi Shani, I was happy to see how clear she was on planning to preserve her eggs to prevent infertility. She is 23 years old and wise enough to strike a balance between personal & professional growth. She said,

“Right now, I am focusing on my career and have no plans to get married any soon. I am very well aware of the fact that, infertility can affect my pregnancy if I plan it after 35+. As a result, I have decided to freeze my eggs at age 25 because I just love kids and don’t want infertility to take that away from me, especially when I am ready to be a mother!”

Prachi Shani, Fashion Designer, Haryana

The Cost Of Egg Freezing

The cost of egg freezing is similar to the cost of IVF, as the process is very similar. Except, IVF ends with embryo implantation process and egg freezing ends with freezing & storing the eggs. The cost of egg freezing is approximately Rs. 1lakh to Rs. 2 Lakhs along with additional storage cost that can be charged yearly. The cost might vary depending upon the city, clinic, age of women, number of cycles & medications used.

How Long Can Frozen Eggs Be Stored?

According to Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, Founder of Bloom IVF, Mumbai. He says that,

“Though eggs can be stored for about 5 to 10 years, yet you can still get pregnant with eggs that are stored for more than a decade or so”.

Is Egg Freezing Technique Accessible In India?

It is easily accessible in metro cities of India. But difficult in tier- 1 & tier – 2 cities as only few IVF clinics will have certified embryologists and well-equipped embryology labs. Moreover, the financial cost and society taboos make it more difficult for young girls and newly married women to access to these centers. Talking about the same on BBC World news channel is, the founder of Fertility Dost – Ms. Gitanjali Banerjee along with Dr. Hrishikesh Pai (Founder of Bloom IVF) and Ms. Diana Hyden (Actress, former Miss World).

Watch The emerging trend of egg freezing in India (Make the thumbnail)

The same was discussed by this radiating beauty of Himachal Pradesh – Abhilasha Jariyal, who is 25 years old and is recently married. She said,

“Now that I am married recently, I know the next thing expected from me is to be a mother. I certainly understand that my biological clock is ticking but I and husband are in no rush to plan pregnancy. However, if egg freezing is accessible to me, I would opt for it to prevent infertility later.”

Abhilasha Jariyal, Teacher, Himachal Pradesh

Who Should Do Egg Freezing?

According to me, it should be done by every woman who wish to not worry about her biological clock and also who can afford it. Having said that, a woman who is suffering from either of the below medical conditions must definitely do it. For example –

  • Cancer,
  • Underwent surgery that may cause damage to ovaries,
  • Having chromosomal abnormalities,
  • Ovarian disease
  • Comorbidities or
  • Other social, professional & personal reasons.

Medical Reason

I interviewed this dynamic young doctor, doing her internship with one of the prestigious hospitals of Mumbai, Nanavati Max Hospital. She is 25 years old and said,

“Being a Doctor myself, I know how various infertility conditions can affect the pregnancy chances of a woman. I have septate uterus and PCOS which can later cause me high-risk pregnancy. As a result, I would definitely opt for egg freezing as it is a better option.”

 

Dr. Ceyol D’ Souza, Doctor (G.P.), Mumbai

Dipti Brahmane Desai, Working in MNC, Hyderabad

“I am 32 years old. Been married for almost 3 years now. Have been planning for pregnancy recently. I know that “biological clock” is a real thing and I don’t take it for granted. If I still don’t conceive in couple of years then, I might opt for egg freezing.”

Personal Reason

Priyanka Nehria, Research Scholar, Himachal Pradesh

“I am 25 years old. Recently got married and have no intention to plan my pregnancy any soon. I am aware of infertility conditions but haven’t heard about egg freezing much. I don’t think will opt for it.”

Shilpa Kapoor, Teacher, Chandigarh

“I am 28 years old, married for 3 years now. Though I know about egg freezing, yet I haven’t thought about freezing my eggs as of now. However, I am a firm believer of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and so I do take good care of my body. I think this is also a crucial preventive measure given the fact, most infertility conditions are mainly because of bad lifestyle.”

Salma Lakdawala, Teacher, Dubai

“I am 30 years old, already married and have a son. I am aware of secondary infertility conditions and that egg freezing can help me delay my pregnancy plan and prevent infertility. Yet, I don’t want to opt for it.”

Professional Reason

Niharika Dutta, PhD Student, Jammu

“I am 25 years old and enjoying my studies. I know how infertility cases are increasing in India but I am not sure if I want to freeze my eggs! I might do it later when I am settled in my professional life and still unmarried by 30”

Natasha Pereira, Hotelier, USA

“I am 30 years old, and living my life to the fullest. Haven’t thought about marriage yet, as I am busy turning my dreams into reality with my hard work. But yes, I have been contemplating the idea of egg freezing for a while. Someone did advise that it was a safe option to do so. I would like to know more and perhaps do it someday.”

My dear readers, if you came here looking for answers on whether you should preserve your eggs or not, then I hope you got your answers. By chance, if now you are confused on WHERE to freeze your eggs, Which clinic and Which Doctor, then worry not! Fertility Dost team is here to give you genuine & expert advice. Connect with us today and put a full stop to all your worries!

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