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Egg Freezing- Procedure, Benefits and Side Effects

In today’s modern era, women are choosing to put their ambitions forward and have children later in life. With the rising cases of infertility, certain steps must be taken to ensure that couple is fertile to have a child whenever they wish to. Egg freezing is one such technique that helps women to delay pregnancy and conceive at a later age.

Egg Freezing- Procedure, Benefits and Side Effects

What Is Egg Freezing?

Oocyte cryopreservation, more commonly known by the name Egg Freezing is a technique to freeze the eggs to preserve the reproductive potential of women. In this method, unfertilized eggs are harvested from the ovaries and then frozen and stored for later use.  Egg freezing is combined with the invitro fertilization technique and the fertilized eggs are implanted into the uterus when the couple is ready. What Is Egg Freezing?

Why Do Women Freeze Eggs?

Egg freezing is a procedure meant for women who don’t want pregnancy currently, but still wish to remain fertile and conceive at a later age. Unlike embryo cryopreservation, egg freezing does not need sperm and is frozen in an unfertilized state.  However, embryo freezing and egg freezing resemble in the fact that in both these procedures the woman has to be artificially induce to ovulate with the help of fertility drugs. Some of the reasons why women may consider egg freezing are

  • If the woman wants to delay pregnancy and conceive at a later age.
  • If the woman is detected with cancer and has to undergo chemotherapy, since cancer treatments affect the woman’s fertility.
  • If the couple is undergoing invitro fertilization, and on the day of fertilization the male does not produce the appropriate amount of sperms.

Procedure of Egg Freezing

In the Egg Freezing technique, the doctor uses an ultrasound and inserts a needle into the ovaries to retrieve the ripened eggs. If the eggs do not show up in the ultrasound, the doctor may perform an abdominal surgery to remove the eggs. Since eggs are full of water, care must be taken not to form damaging ice crystals. To prevent this from happening, the doctor will inject a special solution into the eggs before freezing it.

In the future, when the woman wants to conceive or get pregnant, she has to undergo invitro fertilization using the sperm from the male. Upon the success of invitro, the fertilized embryo is implanted into the woman’s uterus.

Benefits of Egg Freezing

Although egg freezing poses some risks, it can greatly benefit the woman emotionally and physically. Listed below are some benefits of egg freezing.

#1. Match Up To The Modern Era

One of the most important egg freezing benefits is that it helps women catch up with their lives personally and professionally. Since having a kid can bring in a lot of responsibilities, women can chose to have them at a later stage without affecting the chances of fertility.

#2. Reduce Fertility Anxiety

With the rising cases of infertility, many couple rush to have a child even if they are not prepared for it. This happens due to fertility anxiety. Egg freezing helps reduce fertility anxiety and brings in a sense of relaxation in couples.

#3. Protect Eggs from Disease

If a woman is suffering from a dangerous disease or undergoing any invasive medical procedure, the eggs can get affected hampering the fertility. Egg freezing helps protect the eggs from getting affected during disease or any medical procedure.

Risks of Egg Freezing

While a woman or a couple decides to freeze the eggs, they must be aware of the risks it entails. Some of the associated risks of egg freezing include

#1. Emotional Risks

Egg freezing provides a lot of hope for future pregnancy. However, pregnancy is not always a success when eggs are frozen.

#2. Complications During Egg Retrieval

The aspirating needle used to retrieve eggs can accidentally injure the bowel or blood vessel and cause bleeding.

#3. Side Effects Caused Due To Ovulating Fertility Drugs

Eggs are induced to ovulate with the help of fertility drugs like luteinizing hormone or follicle stimulating hormone. These drugs can cause pain to the ovaries or make the ovaries swollen. Some of the common symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, and diarrhea.

Conclusion:

The natural process of becoming pregnant outweighs all the benefits of egg freezing. Nevertheless, based on individual choice and circumstances, egg freezing can be considered an effective option for those who want to get pregnant at a later age. Make sure that you know all the risks associated with egg freezing and consult a doctor to get the best advice to plan ahead.

References:

  1. https://www.fortishealthcare.com/india/key-medical-procedures/egg-freezing-115
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314815
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/egg-freezing/about/pac-20384556

Yaamini Radhakrishnan
Yaamini Radhakrishnan:I am a clinic research professional, graduate in biotechnology and post graduate in biochemistry. Have also pursued freelance writing since the past 5 years I am married and have a daughter. I am a native and reside at Bangalore.

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