The twenty-first century mom is the quintessence of balance. A laptop balanced on one hip and a tiny tot on another, her world is a fitting mix of work meetings and playdates. And unlike decades gone by, where women would manoeuvre their careers around their biological clock, millennial mommas have it figured the other way around.
How? A revolutionary technology known as Egg Freezing, where a woman’s eggs are removed, frozen and preserved to be used later.
Freezing your eggs can play a big role in the way you plan your life, and it’s worth considering if you’re planning to postpone parenthood for a later phase.
What is Egg Freezing?
It’s exactly what it sounds like, really. Egg freezing, or oocyte cryopreservation, as it is scientifically known, is the process of extracting eggs from a woman’s ovaries and then freezing them immediately. The process is usually preceded by several weeks of hormone injections that work to ripen the eggs housed in the ovaries. When the eggs are at their ripest, they are extracted via the vagina, through a process known as transvaginal oocyte retrieval, and frozen right away.
How Are Eggs Frozen?
Once an egg is removed from the body, it can be frozen using two methods. Traditionally, egg freezing has been associated with a slow-cooling method. In recent years, however, cryopreservation is being increasingly performed through a flash-freezing technique called vitrification. Vitrification is faster, and locks the egg in a glass-like vault.
When an egg is frozen, the ice crystals that are formed can impair its quality. In both methods of cryopreservation, cryoprotectants are used to substitute the water composition of the egg, and to arrest the formation of ice crystals. Also, if you were wondering whether the quality of eggs is hampered by cryopreservation – it isn’t. Research has shown that babies born through cryopreservation do not face an increased risk of birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities.
Why Would I Freeze My Eggs?
Oh, so many reasons! Freezing your eggs can help save a little part of you for later. But primarily, there are three possibilities why a woman would choose to freeze her eggs:
- Religious or Moral Principles: Sometimes, couples undergoing In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) have eggs to spare after completing a cycle. Usually, these eggs are fertilised and then frozen, a process known as embryo cryopreservation. However, some couples find that this conflicts with their religious or moral principles, and request that the eggs be frozen before fertilisation.
- Cancer: Cancer is primarily treated through radiotherapy and chemotherapy, both lethal for eggs. In most cases, eggs in the body are destroyed from these therapies, and some women choose to have their eggs extracted before their treatment begins.
- Personal Reasons: You may have things to do and places to see before becoming a mom. But the longer you put off starting a family, the less time you will have, to create one. It’s a good idea to think about storing your eggs for later, if you aren’t sure when you’ll be ready. The amazing thing about egg freezing is that it’s possible to start a family at any age if you freeze your eggs. If you’re planning a child ten years from now and aren’t sure whether your body will be able to take a pregnancy, you can even consider surrogacy.
Ok, Sounds Like a Plan
It does, doesn’t it?
Saving your eggs can change the way you plan your life. It’s like storing your fertility in a time capsule. Become a mom when you’re ready. Your eggs, of course, will be waiting.