Women or couples looking to conceive at a later time may wonder whether they should choose egg freezing or embryo freezing. Comparing the two can help.
While these two processes are often confused, they are actually different. You should learn about each so that you can determine whether one is better for you than the other. Knowing the pros and cons can also give you a better idea of which route you should go.
Why Would You Choose Freezing Eggs or Embryos?
Choosing to freeze your eggs or embryos is a good way to prepare for the future. In recent years, more women have chosen to push back when they start a family. After age 35, fertility begins to steadily decline, cutting the chances of conceiving. If you decide to put off becoming a mother until after age 40, egg freezing or embryo freezing while you’re younger is a great idea. It allows you to preserve your fertility so you can have the family you’ve always wanted once you’re ready.
What Happens During Egg or Embryo Freezing?
Whether you are freezing your eggs or embryos, both processes begin in the same way. You receive hormone injections for eight to 12 days to stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs. You need multiple eggs, as not every egg will be viable and result in a baby regardless of your age. When you freeze more eggs, you have a much better chance of having some that are healthy and that can result in a healthy child.
At one point, the choice between egg and embryo freezing was a no-brainer: Embryos were frozen instead of eggs due to embryos’ better survival rates. However, thanks to the technology of vitrification or flash freezing, it’s just as easy for eggs to survive being frozen. Using this technique, 90 percent of eggs and 95 percent of embryos survive the freezing process.
>> Click here for a look at Egg Freezing: Fertility without an Expiration Date?
>> Click here for a look at Embryo Freezing: What You Should Know
What Are the Pros and Cons of Freezing Eggs or Embryos?
When you’re trying to decide whether egg freezing or embryo freezing is more appropriate for you, it’s important to take the pros and cons of each option into consideration. The advantages include the following:
- Freezing your eggs or embryos allows you to have the option of waiting a few years until you want to have a child. This allows you to focus on things such as your career and getting better established in it so that you’re financially ready for a family.
- Freezing your eggs allows you the chance to have them fertilized in the future by a romantic partner or through donor sperm.
- Freezing eggs or embryos gives you the opportunity to find out which are viable and can become a child.
- If you are unable to sustain a pregnancy in your own body, when you freeze your eggs or embryos, you can use a surrogate to carry the baby to term for you.
The disadvantages include the following:
- Freezing your eggs won’t let you know the quality of those eggs. You can only learn their viability once they have been fertilized into embryos.
- If you don’t use your frozen embryos, there are issues that can arise. In addition to potential ethical issues, you will be wasting money by discarding unused embryos.
- Frozen embryos can become unwanted if you go through a breakup with your partner. There may be legal consequences to using or discarding them and a battle between you and your ex.
- Neither freezing option is a guaranteed path to having a child. Although the success rates of freezing eggs and embryos are high, that doesn’t mean a viable pregnancy will absolutely occur.
What Is the Difference Between Egg Freezing and Embryo Freezing?
The most notable difference when comparing the two fertility-preservation methods is that egg freezing requires sperm once the woman is ready to have the eggs used. Egg freezing also requires taking fertility drugs so that more eggs can be harvested for retrieval. With egg freezing, there is a 30 to 40 percent success rate of having a child.
An embryo is an egg that’s already fertilized by sperm, which means there is no worry about where you will acquire sperm. Once embryos are frozen, around 60 to 90 percent of them will survive thawing. However, once an embryo is properly frozen, it should stay healthy and be available for use at any point. The length of time an embryo is frozen doesn’t affect matters such as implantation, pregnancy, miscarriage or live birth rate.
The choice between egg freezing and embryo freezing is a personal one. Once you’ve weighed your options, you can make a better, educated decision on which you prefer to use.