Deciding between freezing embryos and freezing eggs is something you shouldn’t take lightly. Freezing embryos and freezing eggs are two different processes. To make a decision between freezing embryos vs freezing eggs, you need to look into a couple of important issues:
- Do you need to fertilize eggs before or after freezing?
- Do you want to choose the sperm donor now or later?
How egg freezing works
- In order to freeze eggs, you’ll receive hormone medication for 8-12 days. This will stimulate your ovaries to mature and produce multiple eggs. Having multiple eggs is important because there’s little chance of a single egg leading to a successful pregnancy.
- Once the eggs mature, your doctor will collect them from your ovaries.
- Next, the doctor will freeze the eggs using liquid nitrogen, bringing them to a temperature low enough to pause the aging process. Freezing eggs while you’re still young ensures that the eggs preserve the health and quality needed for a successful pregnancy.
- If you freeze your eggs before actually wanting to get pregnant, you have the option of choosing the right sperm donor when you feel ready. The added benefit of freezing eggs is that they will maintain their health and quality regardless of the time that passes in the meantime.
How freezing embryos works
The process of freezing embryos begins the same way as freezing the eggs. Before harvesting multiple eggs, you’ll receive hormone treatment. However, after the eggs are collected, your doctor will fertilize them using IVF and freeze them afterward. Fertilized eggs, now being embryos, can stay healthy when frozen with liquid nitrogen the same way that eggs can. Once you’re ready for pregnancy, the doctor will implant the embryos into your uterus.
Freezing eggs vs embryos: advantages and concerns
Regardless of the method you choose for IVF, if the procedures involved in collecting, fertilizing and thawing the eggs/embryos are done correctly, you have nothing to concern over; Before medicine was advanced to the level it is today, slow-freeze technology was used. With this technology, more embryos were successful in surviving the procedure than eggs. Once the technology advanced to the use of flash freezing, also known as vitrification, the statistics showed that about 95% of the embryos and 90% of eggs were likely to survive. Chances of conceiving are abruptly the same regardless of the option you choose.
How to decide between freezing embryos vs eggs
With relatively similar chances of success with both methods, you can base your decision on a couple of important factors:
- Sperm donor. If you’re unsure of the sperm donor choice, you can always postpone it by preserving only the eggs. This is a good option if you’re still single, and want a future partner to fertilize the eggs. Freezing eggs is also a good option if you haven’t yet found a suitable donor.
- On the other hand, freezing embryos helps you know how many healthy eggs are there, to begin with. This can relieve a certain amount of anxiety as time goes by, as you won’t be thinking about the possible number of eggs you’ll have available for freezing.
Ultimately, doctors are more likely to advice freezing eggs over freezing embryos. Freezing eggs gives you wider options and freedom to make co-parenting decisions. Even if you choose to conceive with a current partner, there’s a possibility that you’ll wish to conceive with someone else in the future. You can also choose to donate your eggs once you decide you don’t want any children, which will help many families who are unable to conceive. Finance also plays a major role in the decision for many women. The upfront cost of freezing embryos is higher than freezing eggs, because of the additional processes that are required.