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8 January 2024

8 things you need to know about egg freezing

In a world where technology continues to redefine possibilities, women are seeking ways to take charge of their fertility journey. The revolutionary “Egg freezing” offers women the opportunity to extend their reproductive timelines and make more informed decisions about family planning.


Dr Hall, fertility specialist at Harley Street Fertility Clinic, answers question surrounding egg freezing, empowering women in making conscious choices regarding family planning. Here are 7 things you need to know about egg freezing.


1. Why would anyone want to freeze their eggs?

Dr. Hall highlights the differences between women and men, emphasizing that women are born with their complete lifetime supply of eggs. With time, the egg quality and quantity decreases, and thereby negatively impacting the likelihood of a successful live birth. Dr. Hall characterizes the situation as women being somewhat in a difficult situation," constrained by a specific timeframe within which they must navigate the complexities of family planning. The primary motivation behind the increasing interest in egg freezing comes from the desire for greater control over the timing of family planning, opting to preserve their fertility for when they feel ready to start a family, regardless of societal expectations or biological constraints.


2. How old should you be when you freeze your eggs?

Dr Hall emphasizes the significance of age in the decision to freeze eggs. While egg freezing can be done at any age, the ideal window is between 28 and 35. Beyond 37, both egg quality and egg quantity start to decline, making the process more challenging. Dr. Hall suggests that women consider assessing their ovarian reserve around the age of 28 to make informed decisions about if and when to pursue egg freezing.


3. How long can eggs be frozen for?

Addressing a common concern, Dr. Hall mentions that in theory eggs can be frozen indefinitely without significant impact on their quality. However, in the UK they can be legally stored for up to 55 years. Whether used six months or a decade later, the frozen eggs retain their viability.


4. How much does it cost to freeze your eggs?

Discussing the financial aspect, Dr. Hall provides an estimate of the costs involved. On average, one cycle of egg freezing is around £3,700, with additional expenses for blood tests and medication, ranging from £1,000 to £2,500. It's essential for individuals to factor in these costs and plan accordingly.


5. How many eggs do you need?

Freezing around 30 eggs is considered a robust benchmark for increasing the chances of successful pregnancies later in life. This target takes into account factors such as the natural decline in egg quality with age and potential variations in the eggs' viability after thawing. To facilitate this process, clinics like Harley Street Fertility Clinic have developed a unique egg count calculator. This tool allows women of all ages to understand their likely egg freezing requirements, based upon benchmarked data around age, and typical egg reserves. Consulting with fertility experts and utilizing such innovative tools ensures a tailored approach to egg freezing, empowering women to make informed decisions about their reproductive futures.


6. Do I have to take time off work?

Dr Hall assures that while the egg freezing process requires a day off for the actual egg collection procedure due to sedation, the overall impact on work is minimal. Most scans and blood tests during the stimulation phase can be accommodated in the early morning, allowing individuals to resume their daily routines.

Where women require two cycles of stimulation to optimise their egg yield, some clinics will offer back-to-back cycles. This not only increases the egg retrieval count but also reduces the time in which treatment can be completed.


7. Are there any risks associated with egg freezing?

The primary concern mentioned by Dr.Hall is the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which occurs when a patient over-responds to the medication, resulting in discomfort. Close monitoring during the cycle aims to detect and manage this risk early on, ensuring a safe procedure.


8. What are the success rates for having a baby with frozen eggs?

Dr Hall talks about the importance of considering both the number of eggs frozen and the age at which they are frozen. A woman's age significantly influences the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. An algorithm helps calculate the ideal number of eggs needed for a given age, providing individuals with a clearer understanding of their chances of achieving a live birth.


The insightful conversation with Dr Hall highlights the empowering potential of egg freezing technology in giving women more control over their family planning journey. Dr. Hall offers a comprehensive overview of the egg freezing process, encouraging women to consider fertility assessments and discussions with their doctors to make informed decisions about their reproductive future.


To find out more about egg freezing, Harley Street Fertility Clinic hosted a very insightful webinar on the subject. To watch a replay, please click below.