Motherhood on your terms
Egg Freezing Services in Tennessee
Whether you’re waiting for the right time or you’re trying to get pregnant with IVF, social egg freezing helps women and families have a baby on their terms.
There Are Many Reasons to Freeze Your Eggs
Women choose to freeze their eggs for a variety of reasons. Some choose to freeze their eggs because they’re not ready to have a child just yet, while others do it out of medical necessity, such as a cancer diagnosis or they want to try in vitro fertilization (IVF). At Tennessee Fertility Institute, we welcome anyone who wants to plan their family on their own terms.
The Benefits of Freezing Your Eggs
The main benefit of egg freezing is you get to preserve your fertility for later use, whether that’s by you or for someone else, such as a surrogate. Other possible benefits include:
- You can freeze multiple eggs at once
- Doctors screen for genetic diseases and abnormalities
- An alternative to embryo freezing
- Ability to become pregnant at a later age
- Option to use a surrogate if you want
What is Egg Freezing?
Egg freezing, also called oocyte cryopreservation or social freezing, is a method of preserving a woman’s fertility for future use. Women are born with an average of 1 to 2 million oocytes or eggs and cannot make more. Each month, the number of viable eggs declines and by puberty, only 300,000 to 400,000 eggs remain. By 30, women have approximately 100,000 to 150,000 eggs remaining.
Egg freezing halts this process. While the body continues to age, the age at which the eggs are retrieved remains the same. They are cryopreserved and kept on ice until they’re ready to be used to make a baby!
The egg can then be fertilized using in vitro fertilization, where a fertility specialist fertilizes the egg outside of the body, screens it for chromosomal abnormalities and then implants it into the uterus in hopes of a successful pregnancy.
The Egg Freezing Process Explained
The egg freezing process typically involves four steps, which typically take around 6 weeks. This can be shorter or longer depending on the plan you and your doctor discuss.
Initial Consultation and Testing
The decision to freeze your eggs can be difficult. Our doctors at Tennessee Fertility Institute will go over the benefits, any potential side effects and what you can expect from the procedure.
The doctor will then order fertility tests to estimate how many eggs they will be able to retrieve when it’s time. The timing for when you take the tests depends on your menstrual cycle, along with other factors such as if you’re taking birth control.
Hormone Injections and Medication
Your doctor will then have you take fertility medication (often in the form of injections) that will stimulate the ovaries so that multiple eggs from your ovarian reserve are released at one time. When you begin your injections, you’ll also come in so we can monitor your progress. We typically do this through blood tests and transvaginal ultrasounds, which we try to make as easy as possible.
Finally, once your doctor sees the follicles are large enough, they will have you take the final injection called a trigger shot. And yes, you’re almost there!
Surgery and Egg Retrieval
Once you take the trigger shot, it will typically be 36 hours until your doctor performs surgery to retrieve the eggs. The great thing about this procedure is that it typically takes under an hour and you don’t have to go “under.” Our doctors will typically use a local anesthetic.
The surgery is an outpatient procedure, so you’ll be able to go home shortly after. However, it may take a few days to recover fully. Once that happens, you can go back to your normal activities.
Freeze Your Eggs
Once the doctor retrieves your eggs, an embryologist will identify the mature eggs and cryopreserve them using a process called vitrification, which uses liquid nitrogen to flash freeze the eggs to reduce the chance of ice crystals forming.
Once frozen, your eggs will then be moved to storage, where we’ll keep them until you’re ready to use them or donate them to another aspiring family.
Keep in mind that while this process identifies mature eggs, it does not guarantee healthy eggs. This is why doctors aim to retrieve multiple eggs in the hopes that one or more results in a successful and healthy pregnancy.
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Is egg freezing covered by insurance in Tennessee?
At this present time, there are no specific laws in Tennessee that regulate insurance coverage for egg freezing. However, some people may have coverage through the group insurance they have through their employer. To understand what your fertility preservation coverage options are, it’s recommended that you discuss them with your employer and/or insurance provider.
At what age should you freeze your eggs?
The ideal age range to freeze your eggs is in your 20s and early 30s, which is typically when female fertility is at its peak. If you have been diagnosed with a condition or disease that can potentially impact your ovarian reserve, you may want to think about fertility preservation sooner. Although fertility begins to decline in your mid-30s, it is possible to retrieve viable eggs in your late 30s.
Does it hurt to freeze your eggs?
The egg freezing process is a relatively painless procedure, but there are some aspects of it that can cause mild pain and discomfort. For example, to prepare for egg retrieval, patients must inject themselves with hormone medications, which cause discomfort for some individuals. Patients may also experience some mild cramping after the egg retrieval procedure has been completed. The procedure itself is performed while the patient is under sedation, so the patient shouldn’t feel anything.
Is freezing your eggs risky?
The biggest risk of egg freezing is a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which occurs when the ovaries have an excessive response to the fertility medications used during ovarian stimulation. In most cases, OHSS is mild to moderate, causing abdominal cramping, bloating, tenderness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These symptoms generally pass on their own. However, in severe cases of OHSS, patients may require hospitalization. Symptoms of severe OHSS include significant and intense abdominal pain, rapid weight gain, severe nausea and vomiting, decreased urination, enlarged abdomen, shortness of breath, and blood clotting. It’s important that patients report any of these symptoms to their doctor, no matter how minor.