Freezing your eggs? Great! You are keeping your fertility in mind and preparing for the future. But as you become more firm in your decision, consider what happens afterward.
When you are ready to use your frozen eggs
When the time comes to cash in on your fertility investment, your fertility center will thaw your eggs and then fertilize them with sperm from a partner or donor. Your fertilized eggs become embryos, and they grow under supervision for a few days. The embryology lab at your fertility center will allow these embryos to continue to grow into blastocysts, or 5-6 day old embryos with many cells, and the healthiest one (usually just one) will be transferred to your uterus while the others are frozen. With luck, most of your embryos mature healthfully, though it is possible that some embryos will grow abnormally or not at all.
Prior to your embryo transfer, you will need to take a recommended course of fertility medications to prepare your uterus and endometrial lining to allow the embryo to implant. Then you will continue your treatment with the fertility center through eight weeks of pregnancy, at which time you will be released back to your OBGYN’s care.
Any embryos that survive their development stage in the lab will be frozen, and when you need to use these embryos again for another pregnancy, your reproductive endocrinologist will choose the healthiest embryo or embryos of the bunch for a Frozen Embryo Transfer.
If you don’t have to use your eggs
Freezing your eggs is more of an insurance policy or back-up plan than anything else. It is possible that you will not need to use your frozen eggs at all, if you conceive on your own in the future. So now that you may not need your frozen eggs, what will you do with them?
You have options. You can discard the eggs completely, meaning no one will have access to your eggs and they will be destroyed. Or you can donate them to science, with the expectation that your eggs will not result in human life. This involves using your eggs for research purposes only.
Depending on your fertility practice, you may be able to donate them to a patient or couple in need of egg donation. Anonymous egg donors need to complete a few tests, including a psychological evaluation, in order to donate. If you choose this option you may be asked to complete a questionnaire or undergo more comprehensive testing.
Should you freeze your eggs?
Keep in mind that egg freezing is just recently released to the masses as a fertility preservation tactic. In a few years, there may be more options available for what you can do with your eggs, like donate them to a frozen egg bank such as My Egg Bank.
If you still have some questions about egg freezing, click the links below to read some recent blogs:
Are you thinking of freezing your eggs? What is holding you back?