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Freezing my eggs

A woman may choose to preserve her fertility by collecting, freezing and storing her eggs for use at a later date.

Why do women freeze their eggs?

Women wanting to freeze their eggs generally fall into two categories:

Elective

There are many reasons why a woman may want to delay trying for a baby. Sometimes a woman’s life circumstances just aren’t right, e.g. she may be waiting for the right relationship to come along, she may not feel emotionally ready, or she may wish to be more financially secure first. Other women want to focus on their careers and achieve professional goals before thinking about starting a family. Given that a woman’s fertility declines with age, egg freezing allows women to take control of their fertility, giving them the freedom to choose when they will have a child.

Medical

Certain chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgical treatments associated with specific cancers can have lasting effects on a woman’s fertility. Therefore, freezing eggs can be a good idea before starting these treatments. Sometimes, this must be performed urgently in order to prevent a delay in the treatment. Additionally, women with certain conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may be concerned about their ability to conceive in the future, and may freeze their eggs in case they require IVF down the track.

What does the freezing process involve?

Eggs collected for the purposes of freezing are retrieved using exactly the same procedure that is used in a regular IVF cycle. To collect as many eggs as possible, the ovaries are stimulated with self-injected medicine for 8–14 days. During this time, we will use ultrasound monitoring to determine the best time for egg collection.

Egg collection will occur onsite at Newlife IVF, involving a 20–30-minute surgery under light sedation. On average, 8–15 eggs are collected. From this collection, mature eggs are identified, frozen and stored until a time when you might choose to use them. At this time, the eggs will be thawed and used as part of the normal IVF process.

What are the success rates with freezing?

Freezing your eggs is not a guarantee for a baby in the future. While greater than 90% of eggs will survive thawing, a number of hurdles must still be overcome before you become pregnant, including fertilisation of the thawed egg, growth of the resulting embryo, successful transfer of the embryo into your womb and implantation.

Additionally, the number of live births resulting from frozen eggs is highly influenced by the age of the woman at the time of egg freezing, and the number of eggs collected. To give you an approximate idea:

For women 30 years of age:

  • If 10 eggs are frozen, the probability of achieving one live birth is 69%
  • If 20 eggs are frozen, the probability of achieving one live birth is 90%

For women 37 years of age:

  • If 10 eggs are frozen, the probability of achieving one live birth is 50%
  • If 20 eggs are frozen, the probability of achieving one live birth is 75%

What are the costs involved?

Newlife IVF is committed to reasonable pricing, in line with our belief that egg freezing should be accessible to all women. While egg freezing due to medical reasons attracts a Medicare rebate, elective egg freezing does not.

An egg freezing cycle involves the first part of a standard IVF cycle, i.e. ovarian stimulation (medication to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs) followed by egg collection and freezing for storage (vitrification).

When you wish to use your frozen eggs, the IVF cycle is then effectively completed – your eggs will be thawed on the day of ovulation, before undergoing insemination and culture, as they would in a normal IVF cycle. If fertilisation is successful, an embryo will be transferred to your uterus (womb). Any surplus embryos can then be frozen.

Therefore, there are a few different costs to consider when deciding whether or not to freeze your eggs:

  1. The cost to collect and freeze your eggs (fees will differ depending on the reason for freezing, i.e. medical or elective, and whether you require one or more cycles in order to collect an adequate number of eggs for freezing)
  2. The ongoing cost to store your frozen eggs
  3. The cost of any future IVF, i.e. the cost to thaw your eggs and complete the IVF cycle when you are ready to try for a baby (referred to as a ‘vitrified oocyte thaw or VOT cycle’ – an IVF cycle that uses thawed frozen eggs).

A full list of Newlife IVF’s fees can be found here. Our Patient Finance Manager can talk you through the costs that will apply to your specific situation and available payment plans.

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