If you know you want to be a parent someday, but aren’t ready to get pregnant yet, you might be looking into freezing your eggs. But egg freezing isn’t for everybody, and for some people, embryo freezing might be the way to go.
What’s the Difference Between Egg Freezing and Embryo Freezing?
When a woman’s eggs are frozen, they are extracted while she is under sedation and then frozen for future use. Embryo freezing is when a woman’s eggs are fertilized in a lab with sperm, grown for five days, and then frozen for the future. This option is available for women who already have a sperm donor or women already with a partner they know they want to have kids with.
Who Should Freeze Their Eggs or Embryos?
While some women use freezing their eggs or embryos as a way to shatter the biological clock, other women use this fertility preservation method for other reasons. You might consider freezing your eggs if…
- You have a condition that could impact future fertility
- You are starting a cancer treatment that could damage your eggs
- You want to donate your eggs
- You are undergoing IVF but don’t want to freeze your embryos
You might consider freezing your embryos if…
- You want to increase your chances (Embryos are less fragile than eggs and have less of a risk of getting destroyed during the thawing process)
- You are undergoing IVF and have more embryos than you are ready to use right away
What happens if I want to freeze my eggs or embryos?
If you choose to freeze your eggs or embryos you will take fertility drugs for around two weeks in order to stimulate the production of eggs. You will also have regular monitoring via ultrasounds. If everything looks okay, your doctor will extract your eggs using a neurosurgical ultrasound-guided vaginal retrieval method while you are under sedation.
To Freeze or Not To Freeze: That is the Question
How do you know if freezing is a viable fertility preservation for you? It’s important to keep in mind that freezing your embryos or eggs does not guarantee pregnancy. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the chance that one frozen egg will yield a baby is around 2 to 12 percent. As women age, the chance of pregnancy rate decreases, as egg quantity and quality decreases.
Talk to your doctor to figure out what options are best for you. Remember, knowledge is power. The more informed you are, the better chance you have of finding the right path to parenthood for you.