Egg Freezing is Becoming the Next Big Wave in Fertility

Freezing eggs was always presented as a last option to women but now it’s quickly becoming a perfectly normal procedure that is being encouraged by many. Imagine being your own egg donor when you are ready to conceive. With women postponing becoming mothers, this might just be the right option for some. But the longer a woman waits to undergo IVF, which is the procedure used, the smaller the chances are of becoming pregnant. Those figures do not change. Scientists are now taking it a step further and researching how to screen eggs for chromosomal normality to better achieve successful pregnancies.


In 2006, a landmark trial at NYU Langone Medical Center found that frozen eggs could be used to achieve the same pregnancy rates as fresh eggs, used for in vitro fertilization, using egg and sperm to create an embryo in a lab that is then transferred into a woman’s uterus for pregnancy. “So all of a sudden now, it became an option,” says Jamie Grifo, lead author of the study and program director of the NYU Fertility Center. His team is now researching how to screen eggs for chromosomal normality to better achieve successful pregnancies.

Whether using fresh or frozen eggs, both procedures use IVF, which requires hormone injections that enable a woman to produce multiple eggs each month, which are extracted for fertilization. Frozen eggs require a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which a single sperm is injected into the egg.

The success rates of producing a baby from one round of IVF is about 60 percent at age 30, 27 percent at age 40 and drops to 6 percent between ages 40 and 44, says Grifo, attributing the declining success rates to the fact that a woman’s eggs develop abnormalities with age. And therein lies the hope of this new technology. “Egg freezing is a way to be your own egg donor,” Grifo says.

As to the cost of the process, the procedure plus doctor’s visits, medication and egg storage can run from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the lab and the medical practice.


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