There are many reasons women visit us at the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility; one of them is to freeze their eggs. The quick and simple process can have long-lasting benefits. And even though it’s a relatively routine procedure for our office, many women who come in still have questions about what it entails.
Here’s a quick look at the advantages of freezing your eggs, what to expect during the process, and how you can achieve pregnancy when you decide it’s time.
Breaking Down the Process Behind Freezing Your Eggs
Each woman has a different reason for choosing to freeze her eggs. For instance, it allows you to preserve the possibility of having children as you get older, giving you time to pursue your career or goals before starting your family. The younger you are when you undergo the procedure, the healthier and more viable your eggs will be, reducing the chances of complications if you decide to have a baby when you’re older.
It’s important to remember that freezing your eggs is like an insurance policy. You are not obligated to have a baby through in vitro fertilization with the eggs. Simply, you’re giving yourself the option to have a family later in life.
What to Expect During the Process
The process of freezing your eggs is not terribly time consuming or complicated. From start to finish, it takes only about three weeks and involves 3 to 4 office visits in total. The visits are short, and can easily be scheduled around your work, calendar, or other appointments.
Typically, we begin the process about a week before the onset of the menstrual cycle. You’ll start taking hormone injections for nine days. The hormones are to help the body develop multiple eggs, and are the same kind your body produces naturally, so there are usually no side effects. During the process, we monitor the development of the eggs through ultrasounds and blood tests.
The procedure is completed about two weeks after the cycle starts, which is roughly around the time of ovulation. That’s when we are able to retrieve and then freeze the eggs. It’s considered an in-office procedure (not surgery) and lasts about five minutes. We’ll also give our patients medication to help them relax and feel more comfortable going into the procedure. And the women who have gone through it tell us it was a relatively simple and straightforward process.
Once we’re done, we recommend asking someone to drive you home where you can take it easy the rest of the day. They next day you’re free to go back to work and everything should return to normal; you’ll go back to having regular cycles and can start taking birth control again.
Getting Pregnant When You’re Ready
Once the eggs are retrieved and frozen, they can stay frozen indefinitely. Many women choose to keep them securely stored for several years until their family is complete or they’ve decided they’re finished with having children.
Just because you decide to freeze your eggs, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to use those eggs to achieve pregnancy. Freezing your eggs does not affect your future fertility, so you may still be able to have a baby naturally, even later in life. If you do experience complications or difficulty, you can elect to do an in vitro fertilization procedure. In that case, the eggs are thawed and fertilized with sperm, then the resulting embryo is implanted into the uterus to allow you to carry the pregnancy and have a baby.
To schedule an appointment at the Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, contact us online or call us at 520-326-0001.