Source: Bloomberg Businessweek – April 17, 2014
Women are increasingly choosing egg freezing to help relieve the pressure of finding a partner and having a child while also following a career path. A woman’s egg quality and quantity begins to decline at age 30, and significantly decreases after age 35. For many women who have career-oriented goals but also want to have children, egg freezing can potentially help pause their biological clock until they are ready to have children.
Young patients have a high likelihood of survival after cancer treatment, and are more likely to still be in their childbearing years once in remission.
Egg freezing has been around for nearly three decades, but was considered experimental by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) until recently. ASRM notes physicians should counsel their female patients against using egg freezing as a way to postpone having children, rather than attempting to have children naturally.
From Our Expert, Dr. Ronald Feinberg
“Predicting a woman’s future fertility potential is difficult.”
As noted in the article, many women are concerned about their future fertility potential, but we unfortunately don’t have good methods for predicting any particular woman’s future fertility potential. Is a woman better off electively freezing eggs at age 35 as opposed to attempting pregnancy at age 38, or even utilizing IVF? That is hard to know, and no studies have really addressed this.
The article also states egg freezing can be done, but doesn’t discuss pregnancy rates at the time of thaw. Currently, no central registry like the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology’s IVF success rate database exists to evaluate individual clinics’ freeze and thaw success. In addition, very few clinics have a track record to close the loop that is statistically meaningful. Patients should know any IVF clinic can claim to freeze eggs, but they may encounter a “buyer beware” situation if/when those eggs are thawed and used to attempt pregnancy.
The egg freezing process at RADfertility is identical to what women undergo for IVF at our centers. Initially, the ovaries are stimulated with medications to allow multiple eggs to develop within the same treatment cycle. Then, the eggs are retrieved in a 10-minute to 15-minute office procedure performed under anesthesia. Once the eggs are retrieved, our laboratory embryologists identify the fully developed eggs, and those eggs are vitrified. Our techniques for vitrification have generally demonstrated an average of 80% to 90% survival at thaw.
Overall, egg freezing should not be considered a guarantee for achieving a future pregnancy. However, for women recently diagnosed with cancer, or another serious illness affecting future fertility potential, egg preservation does provide tremendous hope. Cancer therapies such as radiation or chemotherapy can destroy ovarian cells and eggs.
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"I feel so lucky to have found RADfertility. I tried two other clinics before I expanded my search and found RADfertility. I drive an hour each way to go to them but I don’t regret a thing. They are so caring and so professional. Every time I message them they respond quickly. Every time I see them they have a friendly smile and warm welcome. They explain everything so well and I never feel lost in the process as I did elsewhere. They also took the time to figure out what was wrong. Other clinics threw up their hands, said 'I don’t know' and pushed me to try IVF."
"Dr. Feinberg and the entire staff at RADfertility are absolutely amazing. The receptionists, coordinators, nurses, and lab staff are compassionate, caring, and straight forward. I’ve had a 12-year infertility journey and I’ve tried other clinics but RADfertility was the only one I felt at ease with. They answered any questions that I had and were there any time I needed them. My coordinator, Amy, was the absolute best and always had my back. Dr. Feinberg’s dedication to his patients is incredible. You are not just a number there, you are a person with individualized needs and care."
"My journey with RADfertility and Dr. McGuirk started when my husband and I were trying to conceive and were having difficulty. We went to RADfertility, where we met Dr. McGuirk. I always say she changed my life and 'fixed' me. Dr. McGuirk is always learning more about endometriosis and how to help her patients. She’s brilliant and truly cares for you! I’m eternally grateful to her and everyone at RADfertility for their unwavering support, love, and care."
"Every step of our journey was tailored to us. We were treated so respectfully. Every detail was clearly explained and we felt so comfortable. Rhonda Wright was a Godsend and inspiring. I highly recommend this place! I cried when my weekly appointments were done and I 'graduated.'"
"The day I met Dr. Neithardt I knew she was the perfect doctor for me. Dr. Neithardt was so compassionate every step of the way. She held my hand, she hugged away tears, and continued to give me hope. There are not enough 'thank you's' in the world for Dr. Neithardt and the whole RADfertility team who will forever have a special place in my heart."
"RADfertility's staff has heart and provided me with exceptional health care. I knew I was in good hands and felt like we were in this together. The doctors and nursing staff always answered all of my questions and provided thorough information about all of my options. I am so fortunate and appreciative of the care that I received at RADfertility. They go above and beyond."
"I cannot begin to explain how wonderful RADfertility is. We were frustrated with trying to start a family and it not working for us. The entire team of doctors and nurses made us feel comfortable and hopeful that we would be parents. We experienced so many ups and downs but we never felt like we were on our IVF journey alone, we had our RADfertility team every step of the way. If you're looking for a supportive team on the IVF journey, look no further. RADfertility is the absolute best."
"Dr. Schillings always kept us informed and never gave up on us. She always explained our options and risks with each procedure. She called us personally when there were any issues or sensitive subjects to cover. Dr. Schillings was the first doctor that had answers for us and wanted to help us have our miracle baby!"
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Silverside Medical Center
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Wilmington, DE 19810
Eden Hill Medical Center
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