Egg Freezing: A Popular Form of Fertility Preservation for Young Cancer Patients and Women Under 40

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Egg freezing is becoming increasingly mainstream. In fact, one of the most significant trends in
assisted reproduction is an increase in the number of egg freezing cycles, both for donor egg
banking and for fertility preservation. In 2017, there were 1,447 donor egg banking cycles in the
United States, which has increased from 905 in 2016. Similarly, the number of egg freezing
cycles performed for women freezing, and banking eggs for their own use (fertility preservation)
increased in the United States from 8,825 in 2016, to 10,936 in 2017.

One of the challenges with the reproductive process is that women are born with all of their
eggs, and with age, new ones do not form. As a result, the number and quality of eggs decrease
with age. For women without the prospect of natural reproduction, one of the ways to stop the
aging of eggs is to freeze them. Literally. The process starts with taking medication to stimulate
the ovaries. Secondly, the patient will undergo a procedure while under anesthesia to retrieve
the eggs from the ovaries, which will then be frozen. This is a form of fertility preservation.

Other forms of fertility preservation include embryo (fertilized egg) freezing, and for men, sperm
freezing. Of note is that egg freezing technology can also be used for egg donation purposes
where the eggs are used by another woman, typically on an anonymous basis.

At Reproductive Partners Fertility Center – San Diego, we perform egg freezing for fertility
preservation purposes. The main indications for these treatments are as follows:

Planned fertility preservation: For women that want to try and protect their fertility from
reproductive aging, egg freezing is an option worth considering. In general, the best time to do
this is in the mid-thirties.

Women with severe benign disease: Endometriosis is a classic example of this. It is an estrogen
dependent benign disease that can cause significant pain and can therefore severely
compromise a woman’s quality of life. Although there are medical, fertility sparing surgical and
complementary therapies for endometriosis pain, some women with endometriosis may,
unfortunately, require removal of their ovaries in an effort to control their pain.

Cancer patients: Many cancer therapies utilizing chemotherapy or radiation therapy can
irreversibly damage eggs. Additionally, the treatment of some cancers require surgery to
remove the ovaries. Fortunately, in many cases, eggs can be frozen and stored for possible
later use before undertaking such fertility compromising treatments. Here at Reproductive
Partners – San Diego, Dr. Su is one of our experts helping women with cancer preserve their

Learn more about fertility preservation. Make an appointment today.