Social Egg Freezing

Definition - What does Social Egg Freezing mean?

Social egg freezing is a term used to describe the practice of freezing a woman's eggs for non-medical reasons. This is usually done with the intention of delaying childbearing for personal, professional, financial, or psychological reasons.

Women interested in the procedure should be well-informed of the ideal number of eggs required and how age impacts the success rates of future IVF cycles.

FertilitySmarts explains Social Egg Freezing

Women under the age of 38 who wish to preserve the option of having a biological child later in life may opt to have their eggs frozen. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has considered egg freezing a first line fertility treatment since 2012. To some, the practice is controversial and can be costly.

The process of egg freezing is the same whether it is for social or medical reasons. A woman who chooses to undergo this procedure would be given medication to stimulate her ovaries to mature eggs. Once the eggs are mature, the woman would be sedated and her eggs retrieved using an ultrasound-guided procedure. The eggs would then be frozen and stored. They would then be available to be thawed, fertilized, and transferred when the woman is ready. Some women need to undergo the retrieval procedure multiple times in order to obtain an optimal number of eggs.

The chance of having a live birth after in vitro fertilization of frozen eggs is about the same as it is for newly retrieved eggs. However, as a woman ages, there is a higher chance that her eggs will contain genetic abnormalities, so the woman's age at the time of egg freezing is an important factor in the success rate. The other major factor in the likelihood of having a baby from frozen eggs is how many eggs were retrieved. Some eggs do not survive the freezing process and others will not be suitable for use in IVF. This means that the more quality eggs that were collected and frozen, the higher the chance of a successful pregnancy.

An advantage of egg freezing over embryo freezing is that it allows women who do not have a partner to preserve their reproductive cells. Some women may also have moral concerns about freezing embryos, making egg freezing preferable.

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