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Egg Freezing And Embryo Freezing: What To Opt For? Expert Explains

A number of people opting for fertility treatment might be in a dilemma whether to choose egg freezing or embryo freezing.
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Published -17 Feb 2022, 12:07 ISTUpdated -17 Feb 2022, 12:21 IST
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Should you freeze your oocyte (egg) or embryos? Many people opting for fertility treatment might go through this dilemma of decision-making and it could get overwhelming at times. Both egg freezing and embryo freezing are separate processes, which could be suitable depending on your needs. Before making a decision, people should know about both the processes and decide what is best for them. Awareness is the key as it will help in making an informed decision. Dr Jyoti Tripathi, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Indore is here to tell us the difference between egg freezing and embryo freezing.

Egg Freezing: What Is It And What Does The Procedure Entail?

what to opt egg and embryo freezing

Increasing number of women have been opting for Egg freezing. This is a procedure that is useful in preserving a woman’s ability to get pregnant. In this procedure eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and are frozen without fertilisation for later use. This is also called Mature Oocyte Cryopreservation.

In this procedure, the doctor will retrieve eggs that will be frozen to preserve them for future use. Whenever you wish to conceive with the frozen egg they will be thawed and fertilised with sperm. The resulting embryo will be transferred in the woman’s uterus to achieve a pregnancy.

Reasons For Egg Freezing (Clinical/Medical & Social)

  • Clinical/Medical reasons for Egg Freezing: Some women may have certain medical conditions that could impact their fertility, like
  • Cancer: Undergoing Radiation and Chemotherapy will impact the quality and quantity of eggs, therefore women with cancer can opt to get their eggs frozen before they undergo cancer treatment
  • History of early menopause in the family
  • Women with Autoimmune diseases like lupus or other conditions like sickle cell Anaemia etc.
  • Social reasons for egg freezing: Here, healthy women choose to freeze their eggs as they may not be ready to undertake the journey of motherhood at present. Reasons can include
  • Career goals
  • Attaining financial stability before becoming a parent
  • Becoming emotionally mature before entering into relationships and parenthood
  • Lack of a suitable partner

Appropriate Time To Opt For Egg Freezing

Women who wish to freeze their eggs should do it as early as possible, preferably in their 30s. The reason being, the quality and quantity of your ovarian reserve will decline with age. Your fertility is at its peak in your 20s and starts declining at a faster rate after your 30s and further accelerates beyond 35 years of age.  If you choose to do it in your 40s, the number of eggs that can be retrieved will be very less and chances of a successful pregnancy reduces.

Benefits Of Egg Freezing

  • Your fertility is preserved, and anxiety related to the Biological clock is reduced.
  • Gives you the freedom to focus on your career and other priorities.
  • It is a boon for women with health issues as they get a chance to conceive despite medical treatments affecting their fertility.
  • You do not require a partner to undergo the process.

Embryo Freezing: The Procedure

embryo egg freezing

An embryo is nothing but a fertilised egg. Under the embryo freezing procedure, the doctor will retrieve eggs from the woman. These eggs will be mixed with the sperm for fertilization. After a few days, the embryos will be vitrified (rapid freezing). These frozen embryos can be thawed later and transferred into the woman’s womb.

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Reasons For Embryo Freezing: Who Should Opt For It

  • Couples who want to preserve their fertility and have the option to become parents at a later date.
  • People with Cancer or other diseases impacting fertility.
  • People with genetic disorders that affect fertility.
  • You can also opt for it if you are advancing in age but to not wish to be parents currently.

Benefits Of Embryo Freezing

  • The chances of pregnancy are higher compared to oocyte freezing and gives similar results if you opt for fresh embryos transfer in IVF.
  • Embryo freezing is viable for those people who are undergoing IVF treatment to conceive right away and have more embryos to be used. They can choose to freeze such embryos.

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What Should You Go For: Egg Or Embryo Freezing?

This completely depends on your needs and reasons. The main difference is embryo freezing needs the use of sperms for the process. So, if you do not have a partner and do not want to opt for a sperm donor, you can choose to freeze your eggs. The drawback is frozen eggs are more fragile than frozen embryos. There is a chance that a few will be lost during the thawing process. But there is still a good chance that most eggs will be viable.

If you do have a partner with whom you want to have kids, then it would make sense to go for embryo freezing.

It goes without saying that if you are unsure, you should consult your doctor and they will be able to guide you in the right direction. Ultimately both these processes have given people a sense of control over the decision to become parents. They have been a blessing for many and have helped them achieve their parenthood dream.

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