Clinical egg freezing vs Social egg freezing: Know the difference to avoid infertility issue

Clinical egg freezing vs Social egg freezing: Know the difference to avoid infertility issue

Now a days, many women often postpone starting their family due to many factors and owing to this, some of them face issues in conceiving naturally later because as women age, their biological clock keeps ticking which, in other words, is a message that time is going out of hand. This is a known fact, that the longer women delay having a baby, the more challenges come in the way of pregnancy but now the time has changed thanks to the medical science that has developed opportunities for women to freeze their eggs and use them when they are ready to have a baby.

Women have a limited number of eggs that decrease naturally and progressively. Born with a finite 1 to 2 million eggs, which decrease to 300k by puberty, to 25k by the age of 30 to 1k by the onset of menopause. With many women fulfilling their immediate goals of an uninterrupted career postponing potential motherhood, the social stigma of the ticking biological clock is inevitable.

What Is Egg Freezing?

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Priti Gupta, Senior Consultant in Fertility and IVF services, First Step IVF (Centre for Reproductive Medicine) in New Delhi, explained, “Egg freezing, sometimes referred to as human oocyte cryopreservation, is a procedure used to remove and safely store woman’s eggs. This enables women to act as their own egg donors at a later time when natural conception may be more difficult or unlikely. Whether the eggs are frozen or fresh, they deliver the same results in terms of delivering healthy babies.”

She added, “Due to increased awareness and the breakthrough advancements in egg-freezing technology over the past few years, it has become a procedure that acts as a synonym of opportunity for many career-oriented women. Vitrification is the latest freezing technique where more than 85% of frozen eggs now survive the warming up method. Pregnancy rates are best when eggs are frozen before age 35. Therefore, freezing a sufficient number of eggs—ideally 20 to 30—while they are still of prime quality is a viable alternative to increase reproductive flexibility and increase chances of becoming pregnant in the future.”

Asserting that an underexplored avenue is that of egg freezing, scientifically known as oocyte cryopreservation, Dr N Sapna Lulla, Lead Consultant – Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Aster CMI Hospital in Bangalore, elaborated, “Egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation is a process in which a woman’s egg oocytes are extracted, frozen and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential empowering women to expand their choices and freedom from time. Egg freezing could be an extension of their biological clock, an exploration into extending their childbearing years an option to preserve the younger healthier eggs empowering the women to choose according to their convenience to become a mother.”

Talking about the steps of the process, she revealed, “Before the egg freezing process, the woman is evaluated clinically and investigated with blood hormones. The clinician takes a comprehensive medical history with a focus on fertility. The program involves a woman receiving hormone injections that stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. These are monitored on serial ultrasound and egg retrieval. All process is done under anaesthesia. Technically, retrieving an egg is no different from getting blood drawn for a test. It’s just the needle punctures the vaginal wall and goes into the ovary to aspirate the fluid which houses the egg. The chances that a single frozen egg will lead to a live birth is about 2 to 12 %. Hence it is recommended to freeze a dozen eggs to maximize success. However, success is based on a woman’s age and the quality of the sperm of the partner.”

Clinical egg freezing vs Social egg freezing:

Differentiating between Clinical egg freezing and Social egg freezing, Dr Priti Gupta said, “Women can preserve eggs for Social or Clinical purposes, also known as Social Egg Freezing and Clinical Egg Freezing. When we say, Social Egg Freezing, it implies that a woman can preserve her eggs for non-medical reasons, considering her career growth, and studies, not able to find a perfect partner, and is not ready emotionally or financially. Whereas, when we say, Clinical Egg Freezing, it is considered for women going through medical issues such as cancer that requires undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment, women having a low ovarian reserve, or having a history of early menopause in the family, etc.”

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