Thanks to advances in reproductive medicine an increasing number of women are freezing their eggs because they are not ready to have children. In our busy, career oriented world, a woman may find herself reaching her mid-thirties, without a partner, or simply wants to start a family later in life due to career reasons.
When is the best time to have it done?
There are two factors to consider when determining the best time to freeze eggs:
- the longer the woman waits to freeze her eggs the poorer the quality.
- as the woman gets older the number of her eggs in the ovaries will deplete.
For this reason this procedure is not suitable for all women. It is a good option for women in late 20s to mid 30s, when the egg quality and numbers are high. However, in women 40 years old and over this procedure may not be a practical option and they have a low chance of live birth.
Moreover, a new study has come out suggesting that the most cost-effective age to freeze eggs for a woman is 37 years old.
This report has taken all the important factors into the account: cost of the treatment, likelihood of using the frozen eggs, egg reserve and its quality, and chances of getting pregnant naturally.
What does this process involve?
Getting a GP referral to an IVF specialist.
IVF specialist may undertake certain investigations to check where your fertility is in relation to the age. Some of the blood tests performed may include: woman’s hormonal profile, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), which assesses woman’s reserve of eggs left and Pelvic ultrasound to check the health of ovaries.
The egg freezing process: Women self-administer injections for 10 to 12 days of hormones to stimulate ovaries. Mature eggs produced are then retrieved on a particular day in a minor procedure by a specialist. This is done under sedation.
The eggs are then frozen in a laboratory and stored.
How much does it cost?
Egg freezing to preserve fertility for social reasons is not covered by Medicare in Australia and can cost around $10 000. Whilst this procedure cannot provide 100% guarantee of success but it gives a woman a chance at postponing childbearing later in life over no action.