You may not be ready to have a family right now because you're pursuing a career or educational goals, or because you're still looking for the right partner. If children are something you want "someday," Emory Reproductive Center has options that can provide peace of mind until someday comes.
With egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, women can store eggs until they are ready to use them. This option should be considered by:
- Women who are delaying motherhood for personal reasons.
- Women undergoing cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.
- Women at risk for premature ovarian insufficiency (early menopause).
- Women or couples who have moral or religious objections to freezing embryos.
Infertility is associated with female aging. As women age, the number of eggs, or oocytes, declines. Evidence also suggests that the age of the egg plays a factor. When eggs are frozen, they no longer age. In other words, a 33-year-old woman who freezes her eggs can expect pregnancy rates typical for a 33-year-old when she uses them.
The process of egg freezing can be as quick as two weeks when there are time constraints due to the onset of chemo or radiation therapy and is similar to the first steps of the IVF process. Fertility medications are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs. Eggs are then removed by inserting a needle through the vaginal wall into the ovaries while the patient is sedated. The eggs are frozen and then thawed when the patient is ready to pursue insemination and embryo transfer.