3 Egg Freezing Risks You Must Know About
November 14, 2019 | Yesmom
We want to have it all – a loving life partner, adorable children, a fulfilling career and everything else that goes with the territory of the modern-day successful woman. Juggling both career and family, we keep searching for that perfect work-life balance. Many of us prefer to find some balance in our lives first by establishing our careers first and hopefully be in a stable long term relationship by then. But even the best-laid plans can go wrong. And that’s where egg freezing comes to your rescue.
Having a reserve of healthy eggs really helps take the pressure off from dating and to just enjoy your life till the time is right for you to tackle the sweet challenges of motherhood. But before we make a decision to move forward with this, we need to consider why we really want to freeze our eggs and also be aware of the side effects and risks involved as well.
According to a recent study conducted by anthropologists from Yale University, USA, the researchers found that, contrary to the popular notion that women are opting to freeze their eggs to complete their education and pursue their careers, the most common reasons behind their choice to do so, revolves around their lack of stable relationships with men committed to marriage and parenting.
By the time you earn your college degrees and establish a successful career, your long term relationship may have just ended or you may be still searching for ‘the right one’ to have a child with. Egg freezing is a boon for women like us who want to pause our ticking biological clocks at our most fertile years and use our healthiest eggs to conceive a baby when we feel ready for it and have found a suitable partner who is also ready to have a family.
Even though egg freezing may help ease your worries regarding having a biological child, you need to be aware that this procedure may take a physical and psychological toll on you, not to mention the financial burden that includes the fees of not just the egg retrieval and freezing, but also the long term storage charges. Now before going to the a egg freezing clinic, make sure you know all the facts about it.
1. Emotional Risks of Egg Freezing
Though most women do their research on the cost factor and the success rates, many are unprepared for the emotional turmoil involved. There are certain emotional concerns or worries that should be addressed before starting with the egg freezing procedures so that you can be more prepared to deal with how you may feel at each stage.
- Once you get started on this journey, the initial weeks are spent doing screening tests to confirm if you are a viable candidate for egg freezing and then the preparations for the egg retrieval procedure begins with daily hormone injections and innumerable doctor’s appointments.
- A research study that surveyed about 200 women who had frozen their eggs, 16% of women admitted to feelings of regret in having undergone the procedure. Their reasons were varied and included having a lack of emotional support, lack of adequate information prior to the procedure and a low number of eggs retrieved and frozen.
- There are often high expectations regarding the number of eggs to be retrieved and frozen. When their bodies fail to produce these expected numbers, these women may feel depressed and they may feel that their body has actually failed them in some way.
- Some women underwent counseling to deal with their anxiety and disappointment after the procedure, though they themselves were surprised by these emotions.
- Many of them voiced concerns regarding giving explanations to their family members and friends. Their understanding and support are vital for a woman undergoing such procedures.
- There are also concerns regarding how to share this information with their current partner/boyfriend or with their future partner.
- Complications can arise after the egg freezing procedure, such as infections or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, that make the whole episode seem like too much effort and emotional upheaval.
- The hormone injections can cause mood swings and it may throw your immune system out of balance causing issues such as yeast infections.
- If after the procedure, even a few years down the lane, you may get pregnant naturally, and regret the entire episode as it cost you financially and emotionally. It may all seem like a waste and cause you to feel depressed.
While some women feel perfectly fine before and afterward the procedure, there are others who were caught off guard by their overwhelming emotions. It is important to address all such concerns before moving forward with the egg freezing process.
2. The Older You Are The Harder It Is
Hollywood actress Halle Berry had her second child Maceo at age 47. Janet Jackson had her first child at the age of 50. Daljinder Kaur from India was considered the oldest woman in the world to give birth. She had a child at the stunning age of 70, using IVF! Erramatti Mangayamma broke this record by delivering twins at the age of 74!. Donor eggs were fertilized using sperm from her 82-year-old husband, Sitarama Rajarao.
Despite these inspiring stories of successful pregnancies at older ages, it’s best not to delay too long and have the child by your early forties at least, if not in your late thirties. Your age is a very important factor when comes to egg freezing success, as well as, the cost factor.
The younger you are, the more cost-effective the procedure tends to be. If you are over 38, you may need multiple cycles of egg retrieval to collect the required number of eggs. It also becomes harder to get pregnant, to successfully complete the pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Older women also have higher miscarriage rates even if the eggs used were frozen at a much younger age.
3. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
Though egg freezing is a wonderful technology that has enabled many women to make true their dreams of being a mom, it is not without its share of medical complications. The fertility drugs you are required to take may have undesirable side effects.
Every woman is unique and what works perfectly for one may not suit another woman the same way. Called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), this medical condition may occur in women taking fertility medication for stimulating their egg growth.
Injectable fertility drugs such as the luteinizing hormone to induce ovulation or the synthetic follicle-stimulating hormones may cause adverse effects in your ovaries causing them to become swollen or painful. These negative reactions may occur soon after the injections, after ovulation or only after the egg retrieval procedure. Most cases of OHSS are mild, but rarely the complications can become severe and may lead to serious illness. Signs and symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The egg retrieval procedure does carry some risks, though such complications are quite rare. The aspirating needle used to retrieve the eggs may cause bleeding, infection or even damage to a blood vessel, bowel, or bladder, if used incorrectly.
The Final Note on Egg Freezing Risks And Side Effects
When a relationship breaks up for a woman in her late 20s or 30s, freezing her eggs may seem like an empowering and rational decision. Egg freezing is a quantum leap for a woman as she takes charge of her biological clock. It is a smart and proactive choice to make and plenty of women around the world have been happy that they made such a decision, when they were able to use their frozen eggs and become mothers.
For cancer patients or those with medical problems such as premature ovarian failure, egg freezing is a boon that offers them a chance at motherhood in the future. For others, with less pressing reasons, they should explore various options open to them, understand the risks involved in various fertility treatments such as egg freezing and IVF, before making a final decision.
There is no need to panic though. Egg freezing is considered safe and effective for healthy women. It does not carry a high risk of complications. As with every other healthcare recommendation, it is vital that you make an informed decision when you choose to insure your motherhood with the help of egg freezing technology.
They say ‘you can’t have it all!’ But with egg freezing technology, we can indeed have it all, but maybe not at the same time. In fact, it’s better, as we can choose when we want to add on more. So go ahead and make that bold choice after weighing all the pros and cons.
Want to know your options? Find out about the Yesmom Fertility Program