One arbitrary Tuesday evening, I went to a party. An egg-freezing party.
The weirdest thing about it was the fact that it wasn't weird — not even a little. I went in with my camera, a brand-spanking-new notebook I got from work, and a wide-open mind. I plucked up one of the free pens they were handing out and scribbled down bullet points like, "Polished women in colorful blazers," "Crisp pencil skirts," "Chatty," and "Cocktails all around." And really, it was exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of women, ranging from late-20s to mid-40s, sipping drinks in their best business attire, socializing, and building connections based on a shared interest in egg freezing.
These women were confident. There was a panelist of doctors taking questions — and boy, did they have questions. They had no problem asking their most vulnerable inquiries in front of the whole group (more than a hundred attended), and the doctors answered candidly and patiently. I learned a lot: the process takes two weeks; you can freeze your eggs for a long time; you should ask your employer about insurance coverage. The entire experience — if I had to describe it in one word — was refreshing.
The party was hosted by EggBanxx, a multicycling finance program for women. The next day, I rounded up questions about egg freezing from real women around the office (one editor thought I was talking about frozen quiche — sadly, I wasn't) and followed up with the company. Check out the answers from Head of Marketing at EggBanxx Robin McCarthy.
POPSUGAR: Why should you freeze your eggs?
Robin McCarthy: The reasons to freeze will vary for each of us, and for some, it may not be the right choice. Egg freezing provides options. It's the first step of an IVF (in vitro fertilization) process, and by doing it sooner rather than later, you improve your odds of having a baby. The younger and healthier your eggs are, the greater the chance of conception through IVF, the greater your ability to have the healthiest baby possible through genetic screening, and the less likely you are to suffer a miscarriage.
PS: What age should you freeze your eggs — is there actually an age limit? What's the average age?
RM: A woman's egg quality and quantity differ by person. If having a child or another child is important to you, then you should go for a fertility consultation, which includes blood work, a vaginal ultrasound, and a discussion of your plans for children.
PS: Is the process painful?
RM: It's not painful at all!
PS: What's the recovery like?
RM: Very easy and super quick. [Editor's note: At the event, doctors said the surgery lasts 30 minutes and there's about a one- to two-day recovery.]
PS: What's the success rate of freezing your eggs then becoming pregnant?
RM: With genetic testing and healthy eggs, the success rate of an IVF cycle with your frozen eggs can be as high as 69 percent! There are many factors, though, and no guarantees, so during your consultation, this is a great question to ask.
PS: Do they test the viability of your eggs before freezing?
RM: Embryos can be tested, but it's not common to test eggs. Your doctor can typically advise you, using your age as a guide, how many eggs they'd expect you to freeze per desired live birth. It can vary since age is such a factor, and the older you are when you freeze your eggs, the more abnormal eggs you'll have. The good news is, the younger you freeze your eggs, the better your chances of conception through IVF when you do choose to start or expand your family!
PS: How long can eggs be stored?
RM: Theoretically, indefinitely.
PS: How many eggs on average does a woman have, and how many are stored/frozen?
RM: A yield from egg freezing depends on a number of things — your age, your medical history, how you respond to the medications, etc. Most patients we see yield between seven and 20 eggs per cycle. Again, this is a question for your doctor, and the answer will be specific to you!
PS: Do women feel more empowered and in control when they freeze their eggs?
RM: YES! The majority of women who choose to freeze their eggs relay back to us that they're glad they did it. It's an option that women are lucky to have today; it gives us the best chance of having a baby if we find ourselves having an issue conceiving a baby the old-fashioned way.