Egg-freezing – what you need to know

Want to freeze your eggs so you can delay motherhood? Singer Rita Ora revealed on an Australian television program that she made the decision to freeze her eggs in her early 20’s. 

The 26-year-old singer was talking to Aussie TV host David Koch when she revealed the decision came about after explaining to her doctor how she had ‘always wanted a big family.’

‘He said ‘you are healthy now and it would be great, why not put them away and then you never have to worry about it again?’ she said.

Ora’s announcement promotes the potential benefits of freezing your eggs earlier, rather than waiting and potentially being unable to conceive later on.

Dr Helen O’Neill, of University College London, said: ‘The earlier you freeze your eggs the better. The benefits (of egg freezing) are that you are taking your fertility into your own hands. If you’re checked and you have a low fertility, it’s best to act early.’

In the UK, the numbers of women choosing to freeze their eggs have soard since 2001. During that time, a mere 29 British women froze their eggs but in 2014 that number had soared to 816 women.

But what exactly happens during the egg-freezing process?  Fertility expert Professor Geeta Nargund explains the process, risks and costs

MORE: How to have a baby on your own

How are the eggs frozen?

Today, we have a technique called egg vitrification which is also called ‘flash freezing’ which can really preserve the egg’s quality. It’s been a game changer in egg freezing because it can preserve up to 80 per cent of the egg’s quality where in the past some 50 per cent might have been lost through older freezing techniques.

egg freezing is not a guarantee of a baby – we can’t erase the effects of age on a woman’s eggs.

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Is there an optimum age for egg freezing?

Don’t leave it until after 35 because the age of the egg determines the success of egg freezing. But freezing your eggs is not a guarantee of a baby – we can’t erase the effects of age on a woman’s eggs.

What are the risks?

You will need to take drugs to stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs than usual and this can in rare cases lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome which can lead to illness, severe pain and even death. Thankfully, today’s methods for drug stimulation are much milder so make sure you ask your doctors questions about using low ovarian stimulating drugs to ensure your risk of this stays low. The egg collection process can come with a low risk of vaginal bleeding and internal injury.

What are the costs?

Egg collection and freezing is around £3000. There are also fees for thawing eggs in the lab or around £200 a year. Then, when you thaw the eggs there will be additional costs to have fertility treatment. If you’re using donor sperm you will need to source donor sperm at a cost of around £650 an ampule of sperm and use a process called Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) in which your eggs will be injected with a single sperm and costs around £1000. Then you will need an embryo transfer procedure in which an embryo is put back into your womb (which will hopefully turn unto a pregnancy) which costs about £950.

Looking for more information about what happens inside fertility clinics? Watch this short video which shows the process inside the IVI fertility clinic in Madrid.

 

Professor Geeta Nargund if the medical director of Create Fertility Clinics.

MORE : Egg-freezing – exactly what happens

MORE: Thinking of freezing your eggs? Read this first

MORE: Inside a Spanish Fertility Clinic

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