If you are a woman who does not wish to have children until later in life, you may want to look into freezing your eggs. Your physician can extract several eggs from your ovaries and freeze them until later, allowing you to become pregnant in your late 30s and beyond — an age when it may be tough to get pregnant naturally. Such samples are placed in a biorepository. Before you dive head-first into this process, however, there are some things you should know.
1. You have to plan carefully.
Having your eggs frozen requires more than just one or two visits to your gynecologist. It is a long process that lasts several months. First, you'll need to have a series of exams to ensure your reproductive tract is healthy enough for the extraction procedure. Then, you will need to take hormone supplements for several weeks in order to encourage several eggs to mature to the point that they're able to be removed from your body and frozen.
2. You'll need injections.
In most cases, the hormones you'll need to take in order to encourage the eggs to mature have to be administered via injection. You'll either need to give yourself these shots or have a partner administer them. It's not a difficult process, and it is similar to giving yourself or a friend an insulin injection. However, if you are greatly bothered by needles, you may wish to undergo some therapy before embarking on this process.
3. There are ongoing fees.
It's no secret that freezing your eggs comes at a cost. However, what some women do not expect is the ongoing cost to keep their eggs in storage. There will be a fee each year — which usually amounts to a few hundred dollars — to keep your eggs in the biorepository. Make sure you plan for these ongoing costs when deciding whether freezing your eggs is right for you.
4. Freezing embryos is another option.
If you have a male life partner and the two of you are confident that you want to have children together in the future, you may want to consider having embryos frozen instead of eggs. Embryos are less likely to become damaged during the freezing and thawing process than are unfertilized eggs. However, if you are single or are not certain you want to have children with a specific partner, freezing your own eggs gives you more reproductive flexibility.