social freezing

Social Freezing

The procedure for freezing a woman’s eggs is commonly known as egg freezing, social freezing, and human oocyte cryopreservation. Egg freezing was developed as a method of fertility preservation. This is beneficial for a preserving a woman’s eggs who is being treated for a serious illness, such as cancer, and needs to delay starting a family. Cryopreservation is not only effective in oncofertility treatments; the technique is also available for women who want to delay childbearing or are concerned about her fertility.
Social Freezing

Benefits of Social Egg Freezing

There are many reasons why, as a woman, you may choose to delay having children. You may have career or educational goals to meet. You may wish to travel, achieve financial independence, or simply enjoy your relationship before starting a family. Social freezing removes the pressure of the ‘biological clock’ by providing an option to freeze eggs while you have good ovarian reserve and egg quality. You can then use those eggs at a later date when your personal circumstances are right for motherhood, even if your age would make natural conception difficult.

When Should I Freeze My Eggs?

The simple answer to this question is: “As soon as possible!” As women age, the quality and quantity of egg production declines; gradually while in her 20’s and then dramatically once she reaches 35 years old. At each menstruation, several hundreds of her eggs die. Each woman is born with a fixed number of eggs and as she ages, she will never produce more. Because of this, women in their early 30’s who are not yet ready to be parents might strongly consider social egg freezing as a method to preserve their current level of fertility. While it is true that some women are able to have natural births even in their forties and beyond, social freezing your eggs at a younger age allows for more potential treatment options as you age. There are certain hormone tests that your Aspire physician can perform to get an idea of how many eggs your ovaries might produce when stimulated with IVF medications. However, these tests are not able to estimate the number of eggs a woman may have at the time of testing. Commonly known as ovarian reserve tests, these tests are a useful tool, but not a crystal ball. Since there is no way to tell how many eggs a woman has, this is another reason why women should consider egg freezing at as young an age as possible. Women who are attempting to get pregnant will have better outcomes before age 35 than after. The same thing is true for egg freezing: women considering social freezing can enhance their chances of success by completing a social freeze before age 35.

How Does Egg Freezing Work?

As part of the egg freezing process, you will undergo the same cycle of hormone medications that are used for IVF treatment process. You will have all the same appointments, tests, and procedures that will cause your body to produce as many healthy eggs as you can safely produce at the time of egg retrieval.  This process is called ovarian stimulation.  During the stimulation process, the clinical team at Aspire will closely monitor your hormone levels to ensure that your body responds effectively and safely to IVF medications. After egg retrieval, eggs are flash frozen through a process known as vitrification.  Egg cells, knowns as oocytes, are the largest cells produced in the body, and contain a high volume of water.  When frozen through normal processes, the water inside of our cells (including oocytes) form into jagged ice crystals that destroy the surrounding tissue and compromise cell integrity.  In order for oocytes to survive the freezing, the thawing process, and later be viable for IVF, additional steps must be taken to prevent ice crystal formation. This is primarily accomplished through the use of cryoprotectants which take the place of water in the cells and prevent the formation of ice crystals. Cryopreserved eggs are then vitrified, which physically transforms eggs into a solid, stable state.  The resulting glass-like cell is devoid of ice crystals and can be stored indefinitely in our cryopreservation tanks.

Is Egg Freezing Safe?

Egg freezing was first successfully used in IVF in 1999. Since that time, numerous clinical and academic studies have been performed to assess the impact of vitrification on outcomes in IVF patients. As vitrification techniques have improved, these studies have found that egg freezing is safe and in no way impairs the outcome of future IVF attempts. In fact, when used with a standard IVF cycle, vitrification has been shown to improve outcomes, likely by allowing the patient’s body time to normalize her hormone levels after IVF stimulation. Aspire’s leading team of embryologist use the latest vitrification techniques to ensure the best possible outcomes for all social freezing patients.

How Much Does Freezing Eggs Cost?

Social freezing/egg freezing is not an inexpensive process.  Patients have to go through more than half of a standard IVF cycle, including several office visits, repeated lab work and ultrasounds, the egg retrieval procedure, and embryology services. Unlike some clinics that may charge piecemeal for all these services, Aspire believes in transparent upfront pricing.  Our pricing may vary slightly depending on which Aspire market you live in, so please contact us to inquire about current pricing.  Our team of professionals can check your insurance benefits to see if any coverages exist for egg freezing.  Insurance benefits vary widely, but if you don’t have coverage, Aspire has relationships established with selected financing companies and can help with the application and approval process. In addition to the fees due to Aspire, social freezing patients should expect costs associated with IVF medications prescribed during ovarian stimulation, as well as anesthesia costs incurred during egg retrieval.  These may be billed from a separate provider.  Any fees for office visits, lab work, or other services performed by Aspire prior to beginning a social freezing cycle are also the responsibility of the patient.  You may have a deductible and/or copays due for visits prior to beginning your social freezing cycle.  Our trained financial counselors can help answer questions and guide you through the process.

Schedule a Consultation

Whatever your reasons for egg freezing, our team can help answer your questions and provide information to help you make decisions that are right for you.  We would love the opportunity to discuss cryopreservation with you in person. Schedule an appointment with one of our physicians and or email Aspire with any questions. You can also schedule an appointment at either clinic online or call the Houston Clinic at (713) 425-3003 and the Dallas Clinic at (214) 414-3806.