If you're considering freezing your eggs, look for a fertility clinic with expertise in the field. These experts are commonly known as reproductive endocrinologists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology provide information online about U.S. fertility clinics' individual pregnancy and live birth rates, although data related to pregnancies using frozen eggs is limited. Keep in mind, however, that a clinic's success rate depends on many factors, such as patients' ages.
If the expense of egg freezing is a concern, ask for detailed information about the costs associated with each step of the procedure and the annual storage fees.
Before beginning the egg-freezing process, you'll likely have some screening blood tests, including:
- Ovarian reserve testing. To determine the quantity and quality of your eggs, your doctor might test the concentration of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol in your blood on day three of your menstrual cycle. Results can help predict how your ovaries will respond to fertility medication. Other blood tests and an ultrasound of the ovaries may be recommended to get a more complete assessment of ovarian function.
- Infectious disease screening. You'll be screened for certain infectious diseases, such as HIV. Potentially infectious eggs are stored differently than are other eggs.
Before going forward with egg freezing, consider important questions, including:
- When do you plan to become pregnant? Weigh the probability that you'll be able to become pregnant at that age against the probability of a successful pregnancy with the use of eggs that have been frozen.
- How many eggs would you like to freeze? Most fertility experts recommend freezing a total of 20 to 30 eggs and thawing six to eight eggs for each pregnancy attempt, depending on your age and egg quality. As a result your doctor may recommend that you undergo ovarian stimulation — in which you inject medication to stimulate your ovaries — more than once.
- What will you do with unused eggs? You might be able to donate unused frozen eggs to a couple or a research facility. You might also choose to discard unused eggs.