Egg freezing carries various risks, including:

  • Conditions related to the use of fertility drugs. Rarely, use of injectable fertility drugs, such as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), to induce ovulation can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome — in which your ovaries become swollen and painful soon after ovulation or egg retrieval. Signs and symptoms include mild abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Even more rarely, it's possible to develop a more severe form of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome that can also cause rapid weight gain and shortness of breath.
  • Egg retrieval procedure complications. Rarely, use of an aspirating needle to retrieve eggs causes bleeding, infection, or damage to the bowel, bladder or a blood vessel. Risks associated with general anesthesia — which might be used for some egg retrieval procedures — also might pose a concern.
  • Emotional risks. Egg freezing can provide false hope. The procedure, coupled with in vitro fertilization, has a limited success rate.

If you use your frozen eggs to become pregnant or have a biological child, the risk of miscarriage will be primarily based on your age at the time of egg retrieval.

Limited research hasn't shown an increase in the risk of birth defects for babies born as a result of egg freezing. However, further research is needed to confirm the safety of egg freezing.

Jan. 17, 2013