Is Egg Freezing the Answer? Are My Family Building Options Now Safe?
Let me first say that egg freezing is a good option. It works and we at Chelsea Fertility NYC have done many cases, including making embryos from frozen eggs, which ultimately culminating in successful pregnancies and deliveries. It is a working technology that is very safe. Vitrification is the freezing technique that allows this to happen. The eggs are not affected by the freezing process and behave as fresh gametes.
But does having fresh gametes guarantee a successful, healthy pregnancy and delivery?
Egg freezing is a stop-gap mechanism that buys us time. That is a good thing but it is complicated. For example, what is the quality of the eggs? What is the quality of the sperm used to create the embryos? And ultimately what is the quality of the embryos? These questions are no different than any other time that someone plans a family through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
So, what does that mean for us? Egg freezing is a reasonable insurance policy, but you should still plan your fertility carefully. Have your children when you can. Balance your options. If you are going to depend on frozen eggs, remember that, regardless of the number of eggs frozen, it is really the embryos to be created that will determine if you will have children.
Embryos can be tested before being transferred to the uterus by PGT-A (preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy), but eggs cannot. One must commit the eggs with a sperm to really know what one must use or cannot use. Not all eggs fertilize, not all divide into embryos, and not all embryos can be biopsied.
The attrition is sharp – one-fifth of frozen eggs can eventually turn into useable embryos in a 35-year-old woman that will lead to a delivery; older women will have a poorer efficiency on average (less than one-ninth of the frozen eggs). It’s best to plan accordingly. This is why egg banks sell aliquots of six eggs at a time for donor recipients, where the egg donors are usually under age 35.
If you like to have the information to make an educated decision for this or in general fertility issues, consider making a free consultation with us at Chelsea Fertility NYC. Sensitivity to your unique needs and transparency in your available choices are the cornerstone of our bedside manner. We look forward to meeting with you.
Paul Gindoff, MD