Questions About Egg Freezing

Here are a few Common Questions about Egg Freezing that we hear in our New York Fertility Center

Is there an increased risk of congenital malformations from pregnancies resulting from egg freezing?

A question that frequently comes up is whether there is an increased risk of congenital malformations from pregnancies resulting from these procedures. Again, extrapolating from what we know about frozen embryos, the incidence of birth defects is the same as in the population at large ( ~ 1%). Studies are continually being done to evaluate this more comprehensively and those of us involved in this work are required to report incidents of birth defects, so if there is any problem in this regard, it will rapidly become known. With respect to the cost of egg freezing, this information will be provided upon request.

In addition to the cost for the actual cycle of egg harvesting, there is an annual storage fee. The consent forms should designate the custodian of the eggs and it is imperative that we be kept informed of any change of name or address. Assuming 8 – 10 years after freezing the eggs, you return for assistance to become pregnant, it is not a given that the frozen eggs will be the “first line” of treatment. A thorough assessment will be taken at that time and the frozen eggs will certainly be a “good option” to fall back upon if there has been a significant deterioration in ovarian function. After all, this “insurance” was the purpose of freezing the eggs in the first place.

Will Egg Freezing result in infertility or early menopause?

A question that is frequently asked is whether undergoing the procedure to harvest eggs for freezing will somehow result in infertility or an earlier onset of menopause? With respect to the former question ( infertility), it is important to realize that a full infertility evaluation is NOT always performed on those women presenting for fertility preservation with egg freezing. For example, if a 32 year old woman who is single, presents for egg freezing for fertility preservation, if she is not interested in conception at that time, there is no point to do an invasive hysterosalpingogram to document tubal patency. Accordingly, it may be that her tubes are blocked and it is not the procedure of egg harvesting which caused it. However, assuming there is no problem in the tubes or ovaries, the process of ovarian stimulation and egg harvesting, should leave no long term effects. Furthermore, since the woman is destined to lose those eggs we are harvesting in the given month regardless of whether they are harvested for egg freezing or not, this process should have no impact whatsoever on the onset of menopause. That is a genetically predetermined situation and barring disease or surgical castration, it will occur at the time dictated by genetics ( average age of menopause in the Western World is 51.4 years)