FAQ: Freezing Your Eggs
Q: What Is Egg Freezing?
A: Egg freezing (AKA: mature oocyte cryopreservation) is the process of extracting and preserving your unfertilised eggs so you can use them at a later date to conceive. When you’re ready to start a family, the frozen eggs are then carefully thawed and prepared for fertilising.
Q: How Much Does It Cost To Freeze Eggs In Australia?
A: Reputable IVF clinics in Melbourne and Sydney give an estimated cost of egg retrieval and freezing at just slightly under $AUD7,000 for a cycle. This cycle will cover the retrieval of up to 10 eggs and includes the cost of blood tests, surgeon’s fees, the initial freeze, and up to half a year in complimentary storage.
For every year that they’re in storage, you can expect to pay around $AUD500. If you want to increase your chances, freezing more eggs costs an additional $AUD350 for every increment of ten.
Q: Are There Any Extra Costs That Come With Freezing My Eggs?
A: Apart from the cost of surgery and storage, you will also need to pay the day surgery fee. This is estimated to cost around $AUD1,000. An anaesthetist for the procedure will have an average cost of $AUD500, and the cost of your medication will start at around $AUD1,500.
Q: How Much Should I Expect To Spend When I Finally Want To Use My Eggs?
A: If you’re planning to retrieve your eggs and have them implanted, IVF (AKA in vitro fertilisation) is the next step. The first round – which will typically include the costs of blood tests, specialist fees, and ultrasounds – is estimated to cost $AUD9,500. For IVF to result in a successful live birth, it should be done with lots of healthy and viable eggs. Your eggs will be at their best when you’re a bit younger, so don’t leave it too late before you freeze!
Q: Does It Matter How Old I Am When I Have My Eggs Frozen?
A: Yes. The average age at which Australian women are getting their eggs frozen is 37. The success of egg freezing will depend heavily on the quality and quantity of your eggs. The older you are when you undergo this procedure, the more eggs you will need to freeze to have a reasonable chance of a successful live birth. Doctors suggest getting your eggs frozen around 36 or a bit earlier.
If you’re thinking of freezing eggs in your twenties, doctors don’t recommend it. Firstly, there’s a time limit for clinics to store your eggs for you. Secondly, it’s a bit early to be undergoing such a costly procedure as you may end up deciding to give birth naturally somewhere down the line.
What To Expect When They Freeze Your Eggs: A Guide To The Procedure
Before you settle on a clinic, ask them if they can provide their average success rate. Not all clinics can guarantee higher chances of successful live birth, so it’s best to ask around. Some clinics may be cheaper, but their rates may not be as good due to poor freezing and thawing. You should also consult a fertility specialist who will guide you through the process according to your age and medical history.
Before your eggs are extracted, your hormones will be stimulated with injections so you can produce eggs that are mature and ready to freeze. This will go on for around 10-15 days. After the stimulation part of the cycle, you should have anywhere from 6 to 15 eggs that can be frozen.
Your eggs will then be taken from your ovaries using an ultrasound probe. You’ll be undergoing surgery for this to happen, and will need some light sedating. The probe needle will pass through your vagina’s walls, which will allow the doctor to extract the eggs from your ovaries. It may sound scary, but this is something that thousands of women have gone through and you should be ready to go home around two hours after the procedure.
The doctor will then take the extracted eggs to the lab and freeze them. This is called ‘vitrification’. This freezes the eggs very quickly and removes as much fluid as needed so that ice crystals don’t form. Once frozen this way, the eggs should be viable for many years.
Egg Freezing Is A Big Decision, So Make Sure You Know The Pros And Cons
It’s always better to start a family when you’re well and truly ready to settle down and provide for your children, and the egg freezing procedure gives couples more time to do that.
Egg freezing can require a lot of money and won’t always succeed on the first cycle. So when in doubt, consult a fertility specialist and let them know that you’re interested. They will guide you through the process and let you know if you’re a suitable candidate!