For fans who love Netflix, sunset sale, you will remember Mary Fitzgerald Shares Her Fertility journey on the show and undergo egg freezing treatments so that she and her husband Roman Bonnet have the best chance at having a family when they’re ready.
In a video posted to her Instagram last month, the real estate agent, 41, shared their recent struggles and urged young women to think about fertility sooner or later.
Captioning the heartfelt video, she said, “Update on my embryo freezing journey. This is certainly not the news we were hoping to receive and while it is very disappointing, we continue to hold our heads high. DO consider doing this at the youngest possible age if you know/think you want to have children. Sharing my experience in the hope of helping anyone interested in the process.”
So, when is the right time to consider egg freezing and what are the next steps?
For women and those with a uterus, the chances of conceiving naturally decrease as you age because the quality and quantity of eggs decreases with age. Egg freezing is a way of trying to preserve a person’s fertility so that they can try and have children at a later date.
With that in mind, anyone who hasn’t met the right person, isn’t sure about having children, is focused on a career, or is undergoing treatment that could affect your fertility, egg freezing could be the way to go. a great option if you’re not ready to get pregnant right now but want to preserve your eggs for future use.
To learn more, we’re happy to talk to the fairy godmother about fertility aka Zita West, internationally renowned fertility and conception specialist and Founder of Zita West Infertility Clinic.
From what to expect during the procedure to success rates and the optimal age to perform, here’s everything there is to know about freezing your eggs, so you can weigh your options. yourself and be strategic with your fertility!
Q. Why would someone consider egg freezing?
More and more, I see more and more women coming to the clinic wanting to freeze their eggs, especially when they’re past the age of 30 but don’t feel ready to have children, haven’t met the right partner or been diagnosed with cancer. sick. such as cancer.
It is important to emphasize that choosing to freeze your eggs has no adverse effect on your future fertility and it does not use up your eggs or deplete your existing supply. Zita West
Although techniques have improved a lot over the years with a process called vitrification, which makes it easier to freeze eggs, there are still a number of factors that women must consider around preserving their eggs. manage your eggs. It is important to emphasize that choosing to freeze your eggs has no adverse effect on your future fertility and it does not use up your eggs or deplete your existing supply. However, you should also keep in mind that while this is a common procedure, any procedure carries risks, so it is important that you are counseled about everything, this will happen. during the initial consultation.
Q. How does egg freezing work?
Egg freezing works in a similar way to IVF but without the need to reset the embryo. There is an initial consultation during which a woman will be assessed for her egg reserve by having a blood test for AMH, which is Anti Mullerian Hormone, and an ultrasound, known as anterior follicle count, which counts the number of follicles. eggs on the ovary. . This gives doctors an idea of how a woman is likely to respond to treatment and decisions about regimens and medications to use, as well as a rough indication of how it will turn out. how.
The procedure involves a woman stimulating egg production as she did before IVF, injecting herself with the drug every day for about 10 days.Zita West
This procedure involves a woman stimulating egg production as before IVF, injecting herself every day for about 10 days according to a decided regimen or treatment, which will Stimulates ovarian follicles to develop. During this time, she will have blood tests and CT scans to assess the level of irritation as well as consider factors such as overstimulation. She will then be given a trigger shot to release the eggs and will then undergo a procedure in the theater under anesthesia, where the eggs will be collected and assessed for their maturity. called sorting, and then they’re frozen.
It’s a rather complicated procedure and many women underestimate what’s involved – the only difference with this method and IVF is that the egg is then fertilized at this point and forms an embryo while you’re having it. doing IVF.
Once you decide you want to use them, the process will then be like IVF, where the eggs are fertilized with your partner’s or donor’s sperm.
Q. How long does the egg retrieval process take and is it a painful procedure?
Egg collection occurs approximately 37 hours after the trigger injection and requires only mild sedation, not as strong as general anesthesia. You can get to the clinic in about 4 hours and you will need someone to drive you home after that.
Q. How long is the recovery/disabling time after the procedure?
You won’t be back to work that day so there may be a day or so, but that depends on how many eggs have been produced and collected. If you have a lot of pain then you will be quite upset and you need to rest.
Q. Is there an ideal age to freeze your eggs?
Age is the biggest determinant of egg freezing success. Usually, the younger the eggs, the more chromosomally normal, while the older you are, the more likely you are to have more chromosomally abnormal eggs and a lower reserve.
For the best chance of success, it’s better to freeze your eggs in your early 30sZita West
So this means you may have to go through two or three cycles to get the money you need, and you’ll have to factor in the cost, as well as the emotional toll it may incur. . Many of the women I see are around the age of 39 or 40, it’s often too late to freeze eggs because the chances of storage are lower and therefore the number of eggs available for successful freezing is also much lower. For the best chance of success, it is better to have your eggs frozen in your early 30s, however, I understand that this is difficult for many women, as you may not be ready to go through this. process at that point in life.
Q. How many rounds does it take to get the eggs?
If you are 37 years old or younger and have a normal ovarian reserve, you can expect to get about 13 eggs per cycle. However, if you are over 38 years old and have low ovarian reserves, ideally you should freeze 20-30 eggs to have a baby and this can rarely happen in just one egg freezing cycle.
Q. How many eggs do you want to freeze for future use?
It is important to realize that some eggs will be lost during defrosting, so if the number of eggs is small, it means that you will have to do this process several times to get the number you need. needed to increase your chances of getting pregnant. It’s also important to understand that it’s not just about producing eggs, it’s about making sure we get mature eggs that can be frozen.
Q. Once a patient has decided he or she wants to use frozen eggs, what is the next step? Is it similar to IVF in that regard?
Many women I meet are unaware of the fact that egg freezing involves going through a process similar to IVF to obtain eggs. To collect eggs, your ovaries need stimulation, which includes injections, and you’ll also have several scans to check how your follicles are developing. You produce a lot of eggs in any given month of the natural cycle but usually only one is released, so for egg freezing the aim is to produce a larger number of eggs.
Q. What is the success rate of IVF with frozen eggs?
To date, there have not been enough live births in the UK to adequately assess the success rate of egg freezing, but indicators suggest it is between 30 and 50%.
Q. How much does egg freezing cost?
On average, it costs around £5,000 to do the procedure. So you can imagine, if you’re doing two or three rounds of egg collecting it can get pretty expensive.
Q. After your eggs are frozen, how long do they last?
UK regulation only allows eggs to be frozen for 10 years. There is a possibility of being extended to age 55, but only if you can prove that you have suffered from premature infertility. However, it is important to understand that if you have a normal age-related decline in fertility then you will not be considered prematurely infertile and will not be able to prolong your egg storage life.
Q. Do you have to pay to host them?
This is definitely something to consider when thinking about freezing eggs for the first time, as you need to be aware that once your eggs have been harvested, you will need to pay for preservation. This number can go up to several hundred pounds per month, but many clinics offer egg freezing packages, which include storage for two to three years.
Q. Is there anything you can do to improve your chances of a successful outcome / improve egg quality?
I strongly believe in the importance of preparing on every level – mentally, physically and emotionally – before undergoing egg freezing to help improve the quality of your eggs.
One of the most important ways women can prepare for egg freezing is to make sure the specific nutritional requirements of their eggs are met.
This means building nutrients into your diet or looking into supplements like antioxidants and inositol as needed, as they can really help with that preparation. and make sure you give yourself the best chance of success.
Q. Would you recommend egg freezing to someone considering it?
In my opinion, I think egg freezing is a good solution. I think it gives women choices they didn’t have before, and for many women it’s about looking back and not regretting it.
For a lot of women, they may be conflicted about having a baby, they may not have met the right person or at the right stage in life, then they wake up at 40 and decide that they want to have a baby. , so the eggs should be frozen. does not give them hope. The biggest factor I try to tell women is that they should be prepared for a delay in fertility – as on average, it can take eight months to get pregnant and miscarriage is quite common. So it’s been a year without pregnancy, and you start over and over again, which is very hard to do – it’s all about looking ahead and being strategic about your fertility.