Women request consultations with me to discuss this highly confidential and often very emotional matter with me, they need the support of an expert to listen to their concerns and confusion.
Should I do it now ?
What is the best time to do this?
Is there a cut off point?
How much will it cost?
How long can I store my eggs for
Is defrosting a easy process
What are the success rates?
When women talk about their fertility and gynaecological health it can be complex and and bring to the surface a lot of feelings.
We talk about their
Menstrual history, Gynaecological and sexual health, recent or current contraception methods.
There may have been a previous termination or miscarriage and frequently when an in depth consultation takes place tears come to the surface.
Women face the fact that they have a finite time when they are fertile and men by contrast can go on having a family for decades after this and it may feel unfair and they resent being ‘made’ to make choices when they do not feel ready.
I have worked with dozens of women who have –
- Thought about egg preservation and are confused and bewildered
- Wanted clarity about egg freezing
- Decided to freeze their eggs and need support and guidance.
Fertility preservation or egg freezing or “giving oneself a little insurance” is a choice an increasing number of women are making, it goes a little way to preserving their fertility by storing their eggs when they are under 35 years old.
The decision is rarely taken lightly as there is an emotional, physical and financial investment.
Increasingly in large metropolitan cities women are tending to have children later in life than the last couple of generations. The process of egg freezing is privately funded and of course carries a significant cost.
A lot of fertility clinics will offer a three cycle package to increase the number of eggs stored.
The process can be undertaken by Single women, hetrosexual or lesbian, wishing to preserve their eggs until they feel they are in the right relationship to start a family.
If medical treatment is necessary which may diminish their egg reserve.
Once the decision has been made it is important to find the correct clinic for you. In the UK we have the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and they give Inspection ratings, Patient ratings, Treatments available, if female staff are available and birth rate statistics.
You can enquire at 2 to 3 clinics and get a feeling of what the protocol is like, if you feel comfortable with the practitioners and perhaps attend an open evening.
Please bear in mind the relative convenience of the clinic in proximity to your home or work address as you will be required to attend for consultations, blood tests and regular scans it’s not necessarily always the best thing to go to your nearest clinic but I would say that if you’re going to a clinic far away from where you live or work you must take into consideration the amount of stress this may cause particularly when some appointments are time sensitive and may need to be early in the morning.
The decision as to whether take to take an antagonist protocol or mild stimulation will come down to a combination of factors –
- The age of the patient.
- AMH results
- Broad spectrum hormonal test results
- The personality/tolerance/preferences of the person having the treatment
- If there are any pre-existing conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, which needs to be monitored carefully.
When eggs are stored they are suspended in a Cyroprotectant solution which facilitates the storage for 10 years plus, however the outer edge of the egg becomes tougher so ICSI (IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is required for fertilisation and this would carry an extra cost.
There is a general anaesthetic involved for egg harvesting which should be taken into consideration and the approximate cost in the UK is £5000 per cycle plus storage charges, for however many years is required. There is also approximately an additional cost of £2500 for thawing the egg and undergoing an embryo transfer this is as of March 2020.
Please be sure to ask your Clinic if you can store them at a yearly cost paying annually rather than being told you need to do it for a long period of time. It is of course important to store as many eggs as you feel comfortable with, more than 25 is advisable as they have got to be defrosted (perhaps in a batch of 8 each time) only some of those will defrost successfully and go on to be viable for fertilisation and will continue on to be developed into embryos, three or five days blastocyst and transferred back into the uterus for implantation.
Patients are very carefully monitored to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and symptoms of this should never be ignored. During the stimulation phase patients may be scanned every second day on average to monitor how the medication affects the ovaries but please pay attention if you have any severe bloating symptoms, pain in the lower abdomen or difficulty breathing. If your clinic is not available to speak to immediately or it is the weekend you should immediately go to accident and emergency at your nearest hospital.
You deserve to put your health and fertility first – contact me today to find professional help and guidance