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The Basics on Egg Freezing
Hyacinth Nicole Browne, MD posted:
I am often asked if egg freezing is a viable option to help women preserve their fertility, and who would benefit the most from it. Egg freezing can only be offered to women who are doing in vitro fertilization, because it involves stimulating the ovary, harvesting unfertilized, mature eggs, and freezing them for later use. It is viewed by some as a way to preserve fertility and to stop a woman's biological clock, since it is easier for a woman to conceive using her "younger" eggs years later.

In the past, egg freezing was considered experimental because pregnancy rates using thawed eggs were lower than those using fresh embryos. This difference was due to increased damage to the egg during the freeze and thaw process. However, pregnancy rates are similar to those achieved with fresh eggs during in vitro fertilization in low risk groups.

I generally recommend that egg freezing be offered to women who have a medical reason to postpone pregnancy (such as women undergoing cancer treatment) and for those who are at increased risk for premature ovarian failure, since they have few options to help preserve their fertility. It can also be offered as a last resort to couples who have insufficient sperm at the time of their egg retrievals, and to couples who have do not want to consider freezing embryos.

Many clinics are now also offering elective egg freezing as an option to preserve fertility in women who want their biological children but want to delay childbearing. Despite improvements in pregnancy rates with egg freezing using newer processes, patients should still be advised about the limitations of elective egg freezing since its safety and effectiveness has only been studied in select groups.

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