Freezing your eggs is a giant choice beneath regular circumstances. During the COVID-19 pandemic, nevertheless, it might really feel much more complicated as you’re taking new components into consideration.
There are questions on whether or not it’s secure to go to fertility clinics, if this can be a notably good or unhealthy time for egg freezing, how the pandemic has shifted household planning timelines, coronavirus precautions to take and extra.
“While egg freezing just isn’t a assure, it does present girls with extra reproductive choices,” stated Dr. Salli Tazuke, an OB-GYN specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility and the co-founder of CCRM Fertility San Francisco.
So how must you go about making this choice for your self? Below, Tazuke and different specialists share their recommendation for figuring out whether or not egg freezing is best for you and tips on how to navigate the method through the pandemic.
Consider your age.
One of crucial components to think about when deciding whether or not or to not freeze your eggs through the COVID-19 pandemic is your age.
“Women are born with all their lifetime provide of eggs, and that quantity declines slowly over time,” stated Paula Brady, a fertility specialist at Columbia University Fertility Center. “Beginning round age 35, egg high quality begins to lower, which is the proportion of eggs which might be genetically regular and capable of lead to a wholesome being pregnant. This is why miscarriage and infertility charges are increased within the later 30s and notably into the 40s.”
Some individuals, notably these over 40, could need to transfer ahead with the method through the pandemic so that they don’t lose important egg depend and/or high quality by ready, Brady added.
“I usually advocate beginning to consider egg freezing between the age of 30 to 35, and it’s greatest to finish the process earlier than age 37 (and most ideally earlier than the age of 35),” Banafsheh N. Kashani, an OB-GYN at Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility, stated.
Due to the upper amount and high quality of obtainable eggs, girls are often capable of retrieve and freeze extra eggs in a single cycle throughout this time.
Consult a physician.
“Women all for egg freezing would ideally not delay their session and analysis, and will then determine with their doctor relating to the urgency of freezing eggs given the pandemic,” Brady stated.
The course of may be advanced, so it’s greatest to hunt a session with a fertility specialist with egg freezing expertise so you may at the least get educated about what it entails.
“With telehealth appointments available, it’s the proper time to schedule a seek the advice of with a fertility physician to debate your reproductive well being,” Tazuke stated. “I can’t stress sufficient how necessary it’s to be taught, deal with your self, discover out which choices can be found, and so on. It’s all meant to empower girls, as a result of data is energy.”
Assess your fertility.
Although age is usually a large consider fertility, it’s actually not the one metric ― and there’s a variety of disparity, even amongst girls of the identical age.
“Each lady is exclusive, and that is why you will need to have fertility exams to evaluate your ovarian reserve,” Kashani stated. “This may be carried out by way of easy exams, akin to an ultrasound or bloodwork, to gauge your fertility. Some girls will discover their egg quantity is common for his or her age or above common. Some girls could discover their egg quantity is beneath common for his or her age. All of this data is empowering and useful to determine what’s greatest for you and when is the very best time to proceed with an egg freezing cycle.”
Examining your hormone ranges, your uterus and your ovaries may also give medical doctors a way of your reproductive well being. Your household historical past and sure well being situations, akin to endometriosis or having smaller ovaries, may also affect your skill to conceive. Knowing you could have a decrease ovarian reserve or different points could compel you to pursue the egg freezing course of earlier than the pandemic is over, while you in any other case would have opted to attend.
Calculate your price range and timeline.
As you assess components like your age and ovarian reserve, take into consideration how this data works into your reproductive timeline and household planning objectives.
Depending in your age and the quantity to youngsters you’d prefer to have, you could have to undergo a number of cycles to freeze sufficient eggs to make your objectives extra attainable. This may be very costly and time-consuming, so think about your price range and schedule. Between the exams, injections and retrieval, an egg freezing cycle takes at the least two weeks and prices wherever from $6,000 to $20,000, though that may differ primarily based on the place you reside. On high of that, storage charges usually begin at $600 yearly.
Many girls are dealing with main monetary challenges and job insecurity amid the pandemic, whereas others have discovered the work-from-home way of life offers them extra flexibility to pursue one thing like egg freezing.
“In my expertise, the variety of girls opting to freeze their eggs hasn’t modified for the reason that pandemic began, however what has modified is the reasoning behind the choice,” Tazuke stated. “Some girls are freezing their eggs as a type of self-care. They’re focusing extra on themselves and taking management of their well being. Also, with extra girls working house and touring much less and going out much less, they’ve the flexibleness and sources to bear egg freezing presently.”
Check on COVID-19 protocols.
Since many fertility clinics have applied coronavirus security measures, “there isn’t a cause why a wholesome lady with none underlying threat components couldn’t transfer ahead with egg freezing through the pandemic,” Tazuke stated, although she added that individuals who have preexisting well being situations or are in any other case at excessive threat for COVID-19 could need to delay egg freezing.
If you reside in an space with notably excessive case counts and new lockdown measures, ensure to do your analysis earlier than committing to a brand new cycle.
“The circumstances of COVID-19 are increased than ever within the United States,” Kashani stated. “Women ought to ask their suppliers about any restrictions within the space that would affect your egg freezing cycle.”
Take further pandemic precautions.
If you determine to go ahead with freezing your eggs, it’s necessary to be further cautious about social distancing and following different coronavirus security guideilnes to keep away from testing constructive throughout an egg freezing cycle.
“If a girl contracts COVID throughout her cycle, will probably be canceled, because the anesthesia required for retrieval requires regular lung perform,” Brady cautioned. “Currently, COVID testing is required inside a couple of days of any deliberate anesthesia, so sufferers are being universally screened earlier than egg retrieval.”
Kashani stated she tells her sufferers to primarily stay in full quarantine throughout egg freezing cycles to make sure there isn’t a threat of transmission and subsequent cycle cancellation.
“Also, it’s necessary to make sure you are in your greatest state of well being previous to the cycle and process,” Kashani added. “This is a pleasant time to deal with issues like food plan, train, stopping smoking cigarettes or marijuana and minimizing using caffeine and alcohol.”