An increasing number of women are delaying childbearing until later in life, whether by personal choice or due to medical reasons. However, fertility declines with age, especially after age 35, as part of the natural aging process. Unfortunately this cannot be reversed, but technology now exists that allows women to make a conscious decision and preserve their fertility until they are ready to have children. In essence, this offers a woman the ability to ignore her biological clock and focus on her career, finding Mr. Right or fighting a life-threatening illness.
Not every woman is a good candidate for egg freezing. Diagnostic testing should be performed in the early part of the menstrual cycle including blood tests and a transvaginal ultrasound to assess ovarian reserve. A reproductive endocrinologist reviews the results, and the physician creates an individualized treatment plan. Once a cycle is coordinated, a woman will take fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs in a single cycle. Frequent office visits are required over an 8- to 12-day period to monitor the progress and determine adjustments to the medication prior to scheduling the egg retrieval. It is an outpatient procedure done in the office under anesthesia, and most women return to work or their normal activities the following day.
This advancement in medicine has brought new hope to those diagnosed with many different forms of cancer, with the largest group being breast cancer patients. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Some may not have families yet or even be married, but they’re facing treatments that might not allow them to take that journey. This is where egg freezing can help take the pressure off and allow a woman to focus on the emotional and physical goal of getting well without having to worry about their future fertility. They can concentrate on getting through their cancer treatments knowing their eggs are safe and sound until they’re through the battle and ready to use them.
Lauren Haring, RN, BS, ASN, graduated from the University of Florida and began her career at GIVF in 2004 after graduating from nursing school. She is currently working to provide fertility preservation services for patients undergoing cancer treatment.