Top 10 Egg Freezing Myths Debunked
Many people are deciding to have children later in life. However, this timeline may not align with our body’s biological clock. This means that more are turning to egg freezing to ensure they can grow families when they’re ready — or have more options available to them in the future.
It’s easy to get lost in the tornado of misconceptions surrounding this topic. So, let’s put some of these myths to rest.
Myth #1: Egg freezing is a new treatment.
With how popular egg freezing is becoming today, you may think that it’s new on the market. However, egg freezing has been around for a few decades. In 2005, it became increasingly popular with vitrification — a type of fast freezing method that helps to preserve the viability of the eggs.
Fast forward to today. With lifestyle shifts, this procedure is now being used by countless patients who want to postpone parenthood. The major difference? In the past, it was reserved for only select medical circumstances. Today, with many people delaying having children to find the right partner, focus on their careers or education, or other life choices, egg freezing is becoming more common.
Myth #2: The egg freezing process causes early menopause.
Since the egg freezing process uses multiple eggs, some patients worry that they’ll run out of eggs faster. This is entirely false!
Egg freezing involves bringing multiple eggs to maturity — but it takes them from a large bank of eggs. Thus, it doesn’t affect your overall supply or kick-start menopause. On average, you’re born with one to two million immature eggs. By the time puberty hits, you have roughly 300,000 eggs. Of those, you may lose a thousand eggs combined over your reproductive years. Freezing your eggs shouldn’t affect your future fertility at all.
Myth #3: It’s dangerous and it will hurt.
All around, egg freezing is considered a safe and relatively painless procedure. Most patients experience only minimal discomfort during egg retrieval. There is no research showing that egg freezing leads to any issues, like chromosome issues, birth defects, or other pregnancy complications.
Mostly, side effects are rare. Because of the medication involved, some might experience bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, mood fluctuations, difficulty sleeping, and hot or cold flashes. These side effects are temporary and will disappear after the completion of the procedure. Another potential side effect, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), only occurs in about 1.4% of patients.
Myth #4: Egg freezing is mainly for single people.
Egg freezing is not just for single patients. Many people in long-term relationships and marriages also freeze their eggs. For example, someone may decide to do so if they are struggling with endometriosis or a cancer diagnosis followed by treatment. Other times, they might simply want to hold off on having a family, but want to be prepared to do so later on.
Myth #5: Egg freezing is invasive and time-consuming.
The decision to freeze your eggs can feel overwhelming — especially when it comes to medications. However, the prescribed hormones and medications during the process are used for a short time frame — usually 8-11 days. Any injections are done in more fatty tissue and with small and sterile needles, ensuring as little discomfort as possible.
The egg retrieval process takes approximately 15 minutes while under mild anesthesia. From start to finish, you can expect this whole protocol to take two weeks (depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle). You will only need to take a day or two off work or regular activities. In fact, many patients report feeling right back to themselves the following day.
Myth #6: Freezing your eggs guarantees you’ll have a baby (in the future).
Unfortunately, pregnancy depends on a variety of other aspects, such as uterine health, sperm health, and more. Research also shows a 43% birth rate with frozen eggs. Thus, the outcome isn’t guaranteed, and this is why multiple eggs are frozen at once, giving you a higher chance of conceiving when you’re ready.
Myth #7: You’re better to wait and do IVF if you need it.
The truth is, the best time to freeze your eggs and benefit from your fertility health is when you are in your prime reproductive years — such as your mid/late 20s to mid—30s. This is when your egg quality and egg quantity are ideal. Younger eggs are more likely to survive the thawing process. If you wait until you are ready and have fertility obstacles, you may have additional hurdles such as reduced egg quality. As a result, there’s a chance that you will have to repeat IVF cycles or need to explore egg donation. Freezing your eggs when you are younger enables you to be your own egg donor if necessary when you are older.
Myth #8: If you’re planning to have kids soon, you don’t need to freeze your eggs.
Fertility drastically declines after age 35. So, while you may be under 35 now, it’s important to think about your age if (or when) you want a second, third, or fourth child. If you want multiple children, egg freezing might be something you want to consider. These frozen eggs can offer a backup if you have any difficulties conceiving down the road. This also doesn’t mean that you can’t freeze your eggs in your mid-late 30s (if you’re thinking about it and are over 35 years of age, speak with an EVOLVE nurse to learn more).
Myth #9: You can’t drink coffee or wine during the egg freezing process.
This is partially, yet not entirely, true. Research shows that alcohol can impair fertility, potentially affecting your egg quality. If you have an event during the egg freezing timeline and anticipate that you will want 1-2 drinks, speak with your EVOLVE nurse for further guidance. As for your morning cup of java, minimization and moderation are key during the egg freezing process.
Myth #10: You won’t have to skip workouts or sex during the process.
Typically, walking is the only recommended exercise during the egg freezing process. This avoids excess stress on the body (particularly the ovaries), helping to ensure multiple eggs reach maturity.
As for other activities, such as sex, it’s best to avoid it during or a week after your egg retrieval. Because of the hormonal medications, you will be extremely fertile before and after the egg retrieval, and if an egg is left behind, it can result in pregnancy.
If you’re ready to explore your egg freezing options or have questions we haven’t covered above, please get in touch with EVOLVE today.