Many women who consider egg freezing as an option to preserve their fertility ask, “can egg freezing cause early menopause?” Fortunately, that’s not the case.
Menopause is a point in time when menstrual cycles stop because of the natural depletion of a woman’s eggs as she ages. For women in the U.S., the average age of menopause is 51. This is predetermined and, excluding disease or surgery, will occur at a time dictated by genetics. When menopause occurs prior to the age of 40, it is termed primary ovarian insufficiency.
What causes early menopause?
The reality is, every woman is different, and the age at which they experience menopause will vary. Some women, even with no external factors, will experience early menopause. This phenomenon can be seen in families, and women with close female relatives who had premature menopause, also called primary ovarian insufficiency, are encouraged to have their fertility assessed at an earlier age. To prevent the premature loss of fertility, these women may want to consider egg freezing to protect their family building options.
Other women may experience primary ovarian insufficiency if both ovaries are removed a woman will experience primary ovarian insufficiency caused by surgical menopause. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can also damage the ovaries, resulting in premature loss of function and infertility. Other causes of primary ovarian insufficiency include autoimmune disorders and the majority are unknown factors.
Can egg freezing cause primary ovarian insufficiency?
So can egg freezing cause early menopause? No. Every month a woman recruits a set number of eggs. During the egg freezing process, this is the cohort of eggs that are harvested. Egg freezing has no impact on the age of menopause. Overall, the risk of complications from the procedure is less than 2%. Therefore, assuming no complications, the process of ovarian stimulation and egg harvesting should have no long-term effects.
The Egg Freezing Process
After you complete ovarian reserve testing, consult with your physician, and decide to move forward with Shady Grove Fertility’s Egg Freezing Program, you can expect the entire process to take approximately 4-6 weeks.
At the end of the stimulation phase, you will get a trigger injection, which helps the eggs mature and signals the body to release the eggs. The egg retrieval is timed to collect the eggs after they mature but before they ovulate. Typically the egg retrieval occurs 36 hours after the trigger.
Depending on your age and the number of mature eggs that were retrieved, your doctor may advise an additional cycle to obtain the recommended number of eggs. By freezing the recommended number of eggs, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of taking home a baby if/when you return to use your frozen eggs to start your family.
To learn more about our egg freezing success rates and Assure Fertility Financial Program to freeze your eggs, or for more information, call 1-877-411-9292 to speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons, or register for one of our upcoming patient educational events.
Medical contribution from Stephanie Beall, M.D., Ph.D of the Shady Grove Fertility Columbia and Towson Maryland offices.