Pausing the Biological Clock With Egg Freezing
In terms of fertility and age, women have a limited window of time in which they can have a child. Conventional medical wisdom recommends having children during your 20s and 30s, when your fertility is at its peak. As women age, the quantity and quality of their eggs diminish, making it more challenging to have a child. The desire to have a child sooner rather than later is often colloquially referred to as the ticking of the biological clock.
However, modern women today now have an option that allows them to hit the snooze button on the biological clock and expand their fertility window past their peak fertility timeline. Many women now choose to delay having children in favor of accomplishing other goals, such as furthering their career, continuing their education, achieving financial independence, traveling the world, or simply finding the right person to start a family with. All this can be accomplished through the process of egg freezing.
What Is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing is an assisted reproductive technology process in which eggs are harvested from a woman’s ovaries, frozen in a laboratory, and kept in cryopreservation storage until you’re ready to use them. To ensure you have the best possible chances of having a successful pregnancy with your frozen eggs, it’s generally recommended you have your eggs frozen before age 35.
The egg-freezing process begins in a way similar to the in vitro fertilization [IVF] process. With hormonal medications, you will go through a process known as ovarian stimulation. The medications will trigger your ovaries to produce, mature, and release more eggs than you normally would during a traditional menstrual cycle. Eggs are then retrieved using a transvaginal ultrasound probe to guide a fine needle into the ovaries. The eggs, which are encased in small, fluid-filled sacs known as follicles, are aspirated by the needle.
Once they have been harvested, the eggs are treated with cryoprotectants, which will help the eggs retain their structural integrity during the freezing and thawing processes. The eggs are then frozen using a flash-freezing technique known as vitrification, which transforms the eggs into glasslike cells. In this state, the eggs are solid, stable, and free of ice crystals, making it safe to store them indefinitely in a cryopreservation tank.
Using Your Frozen Eggs
When you’re ready to have a child using your frozen eggs, the eggs are removed from cryopreservation storage and carefully thawed out in a laboratory. They then are fertilized by sperm, and the resultant embryo is implanted into your uterus. Depending on your specific needs, your fertility specialist may recommend using additional assisted reproductive technologies, including intracytoplasmic sperm injection [ICSI].
Learn More About Egg Freezing
If you’re not ready to have children but want some insurance that you can have a child in the future, egg freezing can help you pause the biological clock until you’re ready. To learn more, contact Aspire Fertility today.