• Is Egg Freezing the Right Option for You?

    by Vicken Sepilian, MD
    on Apr 3rd, 2017

We live in increasingly complicated times. What used to be the assumed traditional path of starting a family isn’t so clear anymore. For many reasons, women are choosing to delay having children. And in some cases, it isn’t a choice so much as a necessity. More women are having children later in life than ever before. It shouldn’t be a surprise as to why, especially if you’re a professional currently navigating the balance of family and career.

With more women waiting until their 30s and 40s to have children due to wanting to accomplish certain goals before having children, the difficulty of managing a full time career while having kids, and choosing the right  partner later in life, it’s no wonder that we’ve reached a point where biology is going up against societal demands. While our lifestyles are causing us to delay certain milestones until a bit later than they’ve traditionally occurred, our bodies haven’t changed. This is why many women opt for various fertility services as they reach certain ages where it becomes notably more difficult to conceive naturally.

There are fertility treatments available for nearly any kind of situation one can think of. But as far as delaying pregnancy for now and having the opportunity to have a biological child down the line, egg freezing has emerged as a popular fertility service. Let’s look at some of the facts pertaining to egg freezing and if it might be right for you.

What’s the egg freezing process like?

The egg freezing process requires multiple visits to your doctor because the process of bring eggs to maturation is delicate and takes some time. Your cycle will be monitored to see when the best time to start the process would be. You’ll then begin hormone treatment in order to stimulate the ovaries and produce multiple eggs. Over the course of this treatment, your doctor will determine when the eggs have reached optimal maturation. Your medication course will change to prepare for this final stage. Once ready, a simple outpatient procedure will be performed in order to extract the eggs. You’ll be placed under anesthesia for both safety and comfort. Once the eggs are successfully extracted they’ll be prepared for freezing. The entire process takes about twenty minutes and you’ll be able to resume normal activity in the next few days after some rest.

Why would you opt for egg freezing?

There are a variety of reasons why someone would choose to use egg freezing as part of the family planning process. The biggest one is voluntarily delaying childbearing for whatever reason. Typically this is due to wanting to pursue more education, establish a career, finding the right partner, or wanting to be in a different financial situation. Ultimately, you want to have children on your terms and when you’re ready.

Another reason might be that you’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer. Many women who are experiencing this difficult time, but also want to keep their plans for the future may opt for egg freezing. Cancer and its treatment can have many effects on one’s body that can make conception difficult. Surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy may have side effects that diminish one’s ability to have a typical pregnancy. To be safe, one might want to freeze her eggs just in case this ends up being how the situation unfolds following remission.

Are there any complications?

While nothing is ever risk free, whether physically or emotionally, egg freezing has relatively few complications that are quite rare. No significant risk has been found of increasing one’s chances of developing breast or ovarian cancer due to the required hormone therapy. A small portion of women might have a reaction to fertility drugs used to stimulate ovulation. Basically, the reaction would produce symptoms of gastric distress including mild abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, or diarrhea. Most women won’t have any reaction. The egg retrieval process, which is mildly invasive, carries the risk of any other kind of similar procedure. You’ll also want to let your doctor know of any previous reactions to anesthesia.

Really, the greatest risk is the emotional one. While egg freezing is an effective, proven method for future family planning, nothing in life is guaranteed. There is always a chance that a fertility service may not be successful. The emotional ramifications of this can be serious depending on your individual circumstances.

Conclusion

Are you thinking about opting for egg freezing yourself? Do you think it would help you better plan having a family? You might be a good candidate. The only way to know is to speak with your doctor. Contact us today. Dr. Vicken Sepilian and his staff have the expertise and level of professional care you’re looking for to help you lead the happy life that you’re after. Schedule an appointment for a consultation today and begin the process of planning your family’s future.

Author Vicken Sepilian, MD Dr. Vicken Sepilian serves the greater Los Angeles area as an Infertility Specialist and Reproductive Endocrinologist. The doctor's area of expertise involves the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving infertility and hormonal imbalances of the reproductive system.

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