Chances are good you've heard of oocyte cryopreservation in plain language, egg freezing as a way for women with cancer to preserve their fertility just prior to undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments. But did you know that women without cancer can also choose to freeze their egg cells?
It's becoming more common for women who are now far more savvy about fertility than past generations to make use of their highly-informed foresight in family planning and opt for freezing their eggs, well in advance of when they plan to conceive.
The technology used to freeze and thaw oocytes has rapidly advanced to be more reliable and effective, resulting in greater success rates. So more fertility centers are offering this option to women whose goals are simply to freeze in place their fertility. For example, women in their 20's who are super-busy with academic and career goal tasks might envision motherhood for their 30's. These same well-informed women also know that their chances at natural conception decrease with age. So far, it appears that freezing an egg cell now in its healthiest condition can result in thaw, conception, and pregnancy success several years down the road.
Many specialists -- including my own lab staff at Houston Fertility Center -- see the greater possibilities for use of egg freezing in this way, to preserve the family-building options for fertile women. I can't tell you how many times I've heard in my office, Dr. Kristiansen, I cannot believe I spent all those years using contraceptives and trying NOT to get pregnant and now when I want to, I can't! For some of these patients, if egg freezing had been available, they could've continued with their contraceptive efforts until the time was right as late as their 30's or 40's and their eggs, frozen while still young, would be ready and waiting to be used to create embryos.
Perhaps egg freezing will eventually become just part of the normal course of reproductive health care management that young women learn about and use for wise family-planning.
~Dr. Sonja Kristiansen MD