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Social Egg Freezing: Benefits, Risks, and Other Considerations

What is social egg freezing?

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Social egg freezing is the process of obtaining the eggs of a healthy and fertile woman, followed by the freezing and preservation of these eggs to have a pregnancy later on in life, typically after 35 years when fertility potential decreases. Ideally, it is performed on women aged 25 to 35 to increase the likelihood of a future pregnancy. Egg freezing can be performed using slow-frozen or flash-frozen protocols; however, the latter method has been found to enhance oocyte survival after thawing and has been associated with an increase in pregnancy rates. It is, therefore, the recommended method of egg freezing as certified by the medical associations.

Suitable candidates for egg freezing

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If you’re a woman between the age of 25 and 35 who wants to start a family but can’t do it right now, egg freezing might be a good option for you. If you’re undergoing any invasive treatments, such as chemotherapy, that can reduce the fertility of your eggs, egg freezing might be the best option. It’s also a good option for women whose ovaries have been removed or other diseases have affected their reproductive health.

Benefits of social egg freezing

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    The process of social egg freezing followed by IVF and embryo transfer provides significant advantages for women who expect to become pregnant in their later years of life. These include:

  • Fertility preservation: By freezing eggs, individuals can increase their chances of conceiving a healthy baby in the future and provide them with the possibility of becoming a genetic parent.
  • Giving birth to a healthy child: The earlier eggs are retrieved, particularly up to 35 years of age, the greater the likelihood of the fertilised egg developing into a healthy embryo, thus reducing the risk of chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Peace of mind: Egg freezing is not a guarantee of future pregnancy, but it significantly increases your chances of becoming pregnant in the later stages of life, ensuring peace of mind.
  • Preventive step: Egg freezing can also be used as a preventative measure before an invasive treatment or operation, allowing individuals to prepare for assisted reproduction treatments in the event of a natural conception being compromised.

Risks associated with social egg freezing

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It is important to know about the health risks associated with ovarian stimulation or egg retrieval. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome may be the most significant medical risk associated with egg freezing. Mild to moderate ovarian hyperstimulation symptoms may include tiredness, nausea, headache, abdominal discomfort, tenderness, and irritability. These side effects are usually managed conservatively. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can be prevented by careful monitoring of the egg stimulation cycle and when done by experienced specialists.
Women who attempt to conceive through the use of their frozen-thawed eggs usually have healthy children. The risk of abnormality in the baby is almost similar to a child conceived naturally.

Societal implications of social egg freezing

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The increased visibility of social egg freezing in the media may lead to an increase in the number of young women opting to freeze their eggs to secure the possibility of having a genetically related child.
Social egg freezing is often presented as a ‘back-up’ that provides young fertile women with the opportunity to pursue long-term relationships, finish their education, become financially secure, or progress in their careers without worrying about their fertility in the future. This can have a significant impact on the way some women think about their reproductive choices.
Changing the way women are seen in society requires a strategic shift in mindset to reduce the negative consequences. It takes a collective braided effort from all sides of society to make a big change, and social egg-freezing is one way to do that.

NU Fertility at NU Hospitals, Bangalore, India offers the best fertility treatment. We provide a wide range of fertility treatments including egg freezing, which is the process of harvesting a woman’s eggs and freezing them so that they can be used to become pregnant in the future. If you are planning to freeze your eggs or harvest them, please get in touch with our experienced fertility specialists. We offer affordable egg-freezing and fertility treatments and ensure complete privacy and confidentiality.

1. Social egg freezing. National Health Library.
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2. Social egg freezing. National Health Library. Accessed on 4 October 2023.
3. Is egg freezing right for you? Yale Medicine.
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4. Social egg freezing. BC Medical Journal.
. Accessed on 4 October 2023.

Author: Dr. Sneha J

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