Dr. Shruti Malik, physician at SGF’s Fair Oaks, VA office shares with Today.com her experience with freezing her eggs at age 31. As a reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Malik knew the ins and outs of the process and what to expect at the retrieval surgery, but she was not immune to the initial anxiety about actually freezing her eggs.
“The decision to look at testing my ovarian reserve to see if I should freeze my eggs was nerve wracking for me,” Malik remembered. “I was nervous about the process, testing, and the reality that my ovarian reserve could be low. It was a little bit scary.”
When should women consider egg freezing?
On average, the most optimal time to consider egg freezing is in your early- to mid-30s while your fertility potential is still near its peak. However, at SGF you can freeze your eggs between the ages of 30 and 40. Some women may need to freeze younger, while some have more time. This is dependent on medical history and ovarian reserve.
What does ovarian reserve testing show?
Women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have—a lifetime supply—generally around 1 to 2 million. As a woman ages, the number of eggs in her ovarian reserve slowly declines, with a steeper decline beginning around age 35. Also around this time, the quality of the eggs also becomes affected by a higher percentage of eggs with a chromosomal abnormality.
Ovarian reserve testing measures egg supply by assessing several reproductive hormones against your age in order to determine if your egg supply is good, normal, or poor. What you learn about your egg supply can help to determine if egg freezing is the right choice for you.
“I encourage my patients and others to be proactive about their own fertility,” says Malik. “Fertility preservation has given me flexibility in family planning. I can decide when I’d like to become pregnant without rushing into a relationship to immediately start my family. I liked being able to pursue my career and have time to find the right partner to move forward with,” adds Malik.
What is my first step if I am interested in egg freezing?
The first step is to schedule an appointment with an SGF clinician to test your ovarian reserve. Once this is complete, we will discuss the results and the best plan of action. If it is decided that egg freezing is the right option for you, you and your physician will determine a timeline for when to start the egg-freezing cycle. On average, the entire process takes 1 month, but the most time-intensive portion lasts for only 10 to 12 days.
How can you fit the process of egg freezing into your life?
“The biggest misconception a lot of my patients have is that egg freezing is not something you can do while you’re going about your everyday life,” Malik said. “In reality, it’s minimally disruptive. On average, it’s about 2 weeks, with appointments early in the morning. It’s very easy to balance.”
Though, Malik noted women do need to take one day off from work for the egg retrieval surgery.
“While I was anxious about my results and the process, I have no regrets about my decision. I feel empowered knowing I made an investment in my future family.”
To learn more about Dr. Malik’s experience of freezing her eggs or to learn more about the egg freezing process, please call our New Patient Center at 1-877-411-9292 or complete our brief online form.