- People turn to freezing their eggs if they wish to delay childbirth.
- It is possible to have more than one child from a batch of frozen eggs.
- People with ovaries are born with a lifetime supply of eggs.
- Egg freezing involves a surgical procedure but is not more dangerous than any other surgery.
Perhaps you’ve heard your friends talking about freezing their eggs or know someone who has. If you’re intrigued by the possibility of delaying childbirth until you’re ready, you may have done some light internet research and aren’t sure what to think about the process.
People choose to freeze their eggs for a variety of reasons including having not met the right partner just yet or are in the middle of climbing the corporate ladder and simply want to delay childbirth for a while.According to Pew Research, more than half of unmarried women in their early 40s have given birth.
But egg freezing isn’t just for those who have never been married. We are debunking this myth and some other common misconceptions about freezing eggs. Here are some of the most common myths when it comes to freezing your eggs.
You can only have one child.
During one menstrual cycle, Sharon Jaffe, a doctor of reproductive endocrinology at the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Winter Park, Florida said that a doctor can retrieve 20 eggs or more depending on the age of the patient.
“It’s definitely possible that you can have more than one child,” said Dr. Sharon Jaffe. “It’s based on the age at which you froze the eggs and how many mature eggs were frozen.”
It’s dangerous to freeze your eggs.
The egg-freezing process requires several visits to a fertility specialist. According to Jaffe, thanks to modern technology, the process is relatively low-risk for most people.
“It is not dangerous. It does involve a surgical procedure using conscious sedation. But as all surgeries go there are always risks associated but the risks are very low for this procedure. It does not take away from your eggs for the future,” said Jaffe.
It will take away all of your eggs.
People with vaginas are born with a lifetime supply of eggs. According to the Cleveland Clinic, they are born with one million eggs at birth. By the time they start puberty, they have 300,000 eggs left. This number slowly decreases over time but is not impacted by egg retrieval.
“We only capture eggs that are available during that time period,” said Jaffe. “Some people think, ‘If you take my eggs now, I won’t have any later.’ Well, your eggs are constantly undergoing atresia and you are only getting the eggs that are developing at that time period.”
Having your eggs frozen will impact your fertility chances later on.
This one just simply isn’t true, according to Jaffe.
“It should not unless you have a rare complication from the procedure,” said Jaffe. “Freezing your eggs will not take away eggs from the future.”
None of it is covered by insurance.
According to TIME magazine, one session of egg freezing can range in price from $US5,000 to $US8,000. According to Jaffee, even if your insurance company does not cover the cost, portions may be covered such as ultrasounds and bloodwork. It’s best to check with your insurance company to determine the exact prices.
“This part heavily depends on your insurance company. Also, there are now companies offering their employees elective egg freezing as a benefit. They are trying to recruit good employees,” said Jaffe. “Additionally, if a patient has a medical problem and is undergoing chemotherapy, sometimes it is covered, sometimes it’s not. For those patients, there are other resources to help them finance it.”
The egg freezing process can take a really long time.
Patients may need to come in for several sessions during their menstrual cycle, but the overall process is relatively quick.
“Egg retrieval is a process that involves several appointments including a minor surgical procedure,” said Jaffe.
The eggs can only be frozen for a few years.
Despite what you may have read online, the eggs have a good survival rate thanks to new technology, according to Jaffee. This means that there is no known shelf life.
“A woman’s eggs can be frozen for long periods of time without issue,” said Jaffe. “There have been children born with eggs frozen for several years. The eggs should be able to remain frozen for as long as the patient needs them to be frozen, whether they are freezing it for one year or 10 years should not cause any difference in the quality of the egg.”
Doctors can barely harvest any eggs during one session.
This isn’t necessarily true, according to Jaffe. The number of eggs that can be retrieved will vary from person to person.
“It depends on the patient’s ovarian reserve and their Basal Antral Follicle Count. Every patient is different and it depends on the age of patient,” said Jaffe. “If you have a patient who is 30 years old, ideally we’d like to have at least 20 eggs frozen to give them good success rate in the future.”
You don’t need to incorporate a healthy diet.
Jaffe said this is an important myth to debunk. She encourages people who are undergoing the egg retrieval process to maintain a healthy diet.
“If a woman is looking to do elective egg freezing, I highly recommend she puts herself on a healthy diet, avoids trans fats, and should maybe start taking an Omega-3 pill and prenatal vitamins,” she said. “Women interested in freezing their eggs should avoid all nicotine recreational drugs, alcohol, and limit their caffeine intake so that helps optimise her egg quality.”
Egg freezing is only for unmarried, single people.
People with vaginas of all ages and relationship statuses choose to freeze their eggs – not just single people, according to Jaffe.
“We have all types of patients coming in. We have patients who have not found a partner, we have couples who are married and want to delay childbirth until their 40s,” said Jaffe.
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