Recently, egg freezing has been generating interest as optional fertility. Egg freezing technology is a boon for thousands of women, who want to delay their pregnancies due to various reasons. We spoke to Dr Richa Jagtap, Clinical Director, Consultant Reproductive Medicine, Nova IVF Fertility, Mumbai. Read on to know more about this, and you will surely benefit from it.
What Is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing is done by women who for any particular reason do not wish to get pregnant now or do not have the choice of getting pregnant now. For example, somebody who is single or the one who is advised not to conceive for medical reasons, or someone who wants to delay the whole procedure from a career point of view but still is keen to have their biological child. This is a personal issue and even if the women do not disclose this to others, many come forward for eggs freezing.
All You Need To Know About Egg Freezing
As we all know, a woman’s fertility is finite. She is most fertile in the younger age group between the ages of 20 to 30—when the pressures of education, career and presence of a suitable partner do make it a difficult decision to plan pregnancy, for most of the women in metropolitan cities. Egg numbers and fertility potential declines steadily with age.
Unlike men, where sperms are formed daily till a late age, women are born with a fixed number of eggs. No new eggs grow through the lifespan, women just keep digging into the kitty and use eggs every month from the start of menses, till such time that she is into the mid to late thirties and the egg reserve depletes at a faster pace. The forties may be new thirties in physical appearances these days, but the fertility clocks do not get affected by that. By the time a woman reaches her forties, the best eggs have finished, and the leftover eggs give a poorer chance of healthy pregnancy.
This knowledge, which has found widespread acceptance, has started a new wave of stress and anxiety amongst women who would like to balance a career with motherhood. It’s never easy to choose one over the other. But the biological clock doesn’t leave them with many choices. At such a crossroad, egg freezing helps a woman to preserve her fertility during her best fertile years when she may not be able to commit to conception. These women then have an option to delay their pregnancy till such time as they wish to. The main crucial point here is the time!
When Should A Woman Freeze Her Eggs?
Eggs should be frozen ideally before the age of 37 years as we know there is a sharp decline in fertility after this age. However, earlier is better than later for women at any age. The eggs in a woman’s body can be harvested by ovarian stimulation, retrieved in a simple day care procedure, and cryopreserved by the advanced vitrification process. These eggs can be maintained for 5 years or more. The duration of storage does not hamper the egg quality. The eggs can be later used for the process of IVF/ICSI conception with all the good prognosis of a young woman’s age.
Who Should Opt For Egg Freezing?
The ideal candidates for egg freezing will be single women, those in their early thirties, who do not wish for pregnancy now or have no partners but would want to keep options of their biological offspring later. It comes as a boon to women with cancers who need to undergo chemotherapy/surgery which is known to seriously hamper fertility. Egg freezing is also advised for single women with severe endometriosis and some forms of genetic conditions where there is a rapid depletion of good eggs with time.
What Is The Ideal Age For Egg Freezing?
The ideal age for freezing your age will be before 35 years of age. However, eggs can be frozen right up to 38-39 years of age, although the numbers and quality will reduce as time passes. It’s always best to have at least 10-12 eggs frozen to get a fair shot at conception. It’s also worth noting that all eggs do not fertilise and form embryos and all embryos do not give pregnancy. But eggs frozen at the age of say 33 years will definitely give a better chance to pregnancy than eggs at 38 or 40 years of age. As they say, A stitch in time saves nine!
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