Egg freezing has become a common talk of conversation as more women start to choose their careers over motherhood. “You may be young and fabulous, but your biological clock doesn’t care for your career, killer body or impromptu trips to Tahiti. Problem is, you mightn’t hear it ticking until it’s too late”, says Dr Evelyn Lewin in the Women Health and Fitness magazine.
The egg retrieval process takes about 10 minutes and is done under mild anesthesia or sedation. Using an ultrasound, the doctor guides a needle through the vagina to the ovarian follicle containing the egg. A suction device at the end of the needle removes the eggs from the follicles.
So when is it too late? According to an article posted in the Daily Mail, a women’s fertility rate drops from 50% to 40% at the age of 27. However, medically, the best time to get pregnant is “between the ages of about 20 and 35”. Between these ages a woman is most fertile and least likely to have other complications.
Of course it is not that simple, often the length of time you’re fertile runs is in your family. Ask your mother and grandmother when they hit menopause to get a better family history. Alternatively, you can find out out roughly how much ‘time’ you have left to become pregnant, by getting your anti-Mullerian hormones (AMH) levels checked. This simple blood test gives you a rough estimate of the amount of hormone produced by your eggs.
Professor Bill Ledger, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at The Royal Hospital for Women and advisor to Clearblue comments, “If your levels are high, this indicates you still have lots of eggs left (and therefore time). If your levels are lower, you may want to consider converting that second bedroom into a nursery sooner rather than later.”
So, should you consider freezing your eggs?
The biggest issue with freezing your eggs is the cost that many insurance do not offer.
More tech companies like Facebook covers all eligible fertility treatments up to a maximum of $20,000. For those without insurance coverage, it’s a rich person’s game. Cold storage costs from $500 to $1,000 in annual fees. And when you’re ready to use the eggs, they must be thawed and then fertilized to prepare for the IVF process. Each round of IVF costs somewhere between $3,500 and $5,000.
The process of retrieving eggs has low risk. “You are going to get anesthesia and there will be a needle puncturing your vaginal wall,” said Dr. Jaime Knopman, an endocrinologist and infertility specialist with the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. “That has a risk for infection, but as far as surgical procedures go, it’s a low-risk one.”
Every woman should have the right to choose what they do with their body. With this right comes the responsibility of what you will do with those eggs once they are removed.
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