Are you considering having your eggs frozen? Here are 10 questions you should ask before you make your final decision29.9.2021 · 6 min reading
Postponing parenthood "indefinitely" has become a trend, but there are also many couples who keep a "back door" in mind to ensure their future family. In this article, we bring you 10 of the most important questions that you should ask yourself if you are thinking about freezing your eggs and to whom you should entrust this crucial step.
1. Will I be in the care of doctors who are true experts in their field?
Let’s start with the most important thing: the doctors and embryologists whose care you are entrusted into. They should have extensive specialized training in fertility and assisted reproduction methods. When choosing a clinic that does social freezing, make sure you choose a clinic with experts who have sufficient experience and corresponding education.
2. Does the clinic have its own quality laboratory?
Whether you have decided to postpone parenthood or you’re considering freezing your eggs for health reasons, it is important to realize that social freezing is an insurance policy for your fertility, and how reliable it will be also depends on whether the clinic has its own laboratory. Research also confirms that the quality of the laboratory where you have your eggs frozen significantly affects the success of future pregnancies, up to twofold. This is why it’s important that the laboratory has the latest technologies and ensures an optimal environment for the eggs. Many clinics use both external laboratories and external storage, which doesn’t have to be an issue, but the degree of control over all processes is definitely lower than when a laboratory and a clinic are “under one roof”.
3. What equipment and technology for freezing the eggs does this laboratory have?
It’s not just whether the laboratory is directly at the clinic that matters, the equipment available is also important. You should ask about the technology the laboratory uses, especially focusing on the cryopreservation methods and the type of incubator used. Cryopreservation was previously performed by a slow freezing method, but vitrification is a new and far more effective method of freezing that is fast and more successful. You should therefore cross clinics that still use the slow freezing method off your list. And as for the type of incubator, it is equally important – before the eggs are frozen, the incubator ensures that the eggs are kept at the optimum temperature and pH. Some laboratories use a large “box” incubator that contains the eggs of several patients. The problem with this is that every time the incubator is opened, the environment inside changes and it takes longer for it to return to the optimal conditions. A benchtop incubator that contains a small chamber for each egg is definitely more state-of-the-art, enabling precise control and stability of the internal environment.
4. Where will the eggs be stored once they’re frozen?
We know how sensitive this topic is, but it’s completely normal to wonder where your eggs will be stored all this time. In order for your eggs to remain properly preserved, they must be placed in a liquid nitrogen environment in Dewar vessels, where a stable temperature of -196 degrees Celsius is maintained. Due to the “sensitivity” of the stored material, it is important for the entire space to be properly secured and monitored, which can be a stumbling block for some clinics, although they may offer social freezing at a favourable price.
5. What happens when I decide to use the eggs?
When you decide to use the eggs, they must be thawed in a laboratory and fertilised by a process known as in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Embryos created during this process can then be transferred back into the uterus. That’s why you need to know if the clinic that froze your eggs will also be in charge of your IVF cycle, with the same team and equipment you’ve gotten to know during the freezing. Having the team that will take care of you completely under one roof is another advantage. However, if you would like to use the eggs in a different facility for whatever reason, it is good to learn about and establish the rules for their transport right at the start.
6. What does the price of one freezing cycle include?
Good accounting makes good friends, so you should definitely ask about the price you will pay for freezing the eggs as well as the price the clinic charges for each year of storage. For example, the price of egg freezing at the Europe IVF clinic in Prague includes a package with the compilation of a stimulation protocol, egg collection, vitrification of four eggs and one year of storage, so the first year of storage is already included in the price of the entire procedure.
7. How many eggs should I freeze?
There is no clear answer to this question, as it not only depends on your age, but also on your future family plans. Because the quality of eggs declines with age, older women will need to freeze more eggs. Statistics according to age say that a woman under the age of 35 has an approximately 85% chance of getting pregnant with 15 frozen eggs. However, if a woman aged 38 would has the same amount of eggs, her chance of getting pregnant drops to 60%. In order for this 38-year-old woman to also have an 85% chance, she would have to freeze 30 more eggs. Last but not least, it also depends on how many children you want to have in the future and when you will decide to have the first one. If you want a large family, or you want to start a family later, it makes sense to store more eggs in the bank.
8. How many eggs are frozen during one cycle?
How many eggs we manage to freeze during one cycle varies. However, based on a blood test, an ultrasound, and your age, a reproductive endocrinologist should give you an idea of how many eggs you can expect from one cycle. This information is based on a fertility assessment that you will undergo at the start, and your doctor will provide it before the eggs are collected.
9. What are the chances of me getting pregnant with the use of frozen eggs?
One egg does not equal one child. You should know this as soon as you learn the approximate amount of eggs you will freeze. Your chances of getting pregnant with frozen eggs depends on your current age as well as the age at which you had your eggs frozen. Your chances one year after the collection will be completely different than your chances after you turn forty. The amount of frozen eggs is equally important. However, based on an evaluation of all the variables, your doctor should provide realistic expectations and essential information that you need to know for your IVF treatment. This is why you should choose a team that will communicate with you openly and that you will trust one hundred percent. That can only help your chances of getting pregnant.
10. Will I have to undergo multiple cycles?
Once your doctor tells you how many eggs you can expect and your chances of motherhood, the decision on the number of social freezing cycles will be up to you. In some cases, you may determine that in order to avoid future regrets, you will insure your future family with more cycles, while others will accept that one insurance policy is enough and they won’t invest any more. In any case, what was said above applies: the foundation is the relationship of trust between you and your doctor, and the amount of important information he gives you. This will help you solve the dilemma of whether you should stick with one cycle or get additional insurance.