Dr. Lauren Roth, who sees patients in SGF’s Frederick, Rockville, and Silver Spring, MD offices, was tapped by Parents Magazine recently to discuss the pressure women feel to get pregnant and how egg freezing can relieve the stress of the ticking “biological clock.”
Why Choose Egg Freezing?
Regardless of the reason—which is commonly education-, career-, travel-, and/or dating-related—more and more young women are choosing egg freezing as a means to prolong and protect their fertility and safeguard their family building options for when the time is right.
A woman’s eggs begin to decrease in quality and quantity as they get older, most rapidly beyond the age of 35. This oftentimes puts pressure on women to find the right partner or put their jobs on pause for the sake of creating a family, as they consider the health of their eggs with each passing year.
Egg freezing provides a solution for this, and it doesn’t require women to put their lives on hold.
How Does Egg Freezing Work?
“The process begins first with hormonal injections that stimulate the simultaneous growth of multiple eggs,” says Dr. Roth. “Once the eggs are developed to maturity, they can be retrieved during a 15-20 minute surgery and will later go through the actual freezing process called vitrification.”
When a woman is ready to become pregnant, her doctor will unfreeze the eggs and facilitate the retrieved egg(s) being inseminated by sperm and placed back inside a woman’s uterus as a fertilized embryo. For a successful pregnancy, a doctor may retrieve around 20 eggs with the majority being preserved. Women older than 35 will expect to retrieve even more to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Since the eggs remain protected in their frozen state, the pressure to conceive is removed from the equation.
What then happens to eggs if the woman decides against having children? “The most common choice is always to discard them,” says Dr. Roth. “But you can also donate eggs, either to an anonymous infertile couple or through directed donation.”
Is This Something I Can Do?
“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,” Dr. Malik says. “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.”
The process places the power back in the woman’s hands. She may choose to save her eggs until she’s more serious with a partner, or more established in her career. Or, she may choose to give them to a couple in need. Regardless of her decision, she can now tune out the ticking clock that reminds her of her reproductive health and focus on living her life.
To learn more about egg freezing, call our New Patient Center at 1-877-411-9292 to schedule an appointment with an SGF physician or complete our brief online form.