15 Mar Reproductive Endocrinologist Discusses the Promises and Challenges of Freezing Eggs for Delayed Conception
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Lora Shahine MD FACOG
Host of the fertility podcast Baby or Bust
Dr. Shahine is double board-certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility as well as obstetrics and gynecology
Clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington
Pacific NorthWest Fertility
MedicalResearch.com: How did you become interested in reproductive medicine?
Response: I love the combination of technology, women’s health, and helping people during a vulnerable time with all the emotions that come with it. I knew becoming a reproductive endocrinologist would mean a career of learning and helping people build families.
MedicalResearch.com: When should women consider freezing their eggs?
Response: There is no one perfect age.
The younger someone freezes eggs (in their 20s), the higher quality the eggs will be and the higher success in the future but the more likely someone may not need the. The older someone freezes eggs (in their late 30s and 40s), the lower quality and the lower chance of success over time. For many people and in general – the research supports its most cost effect to freeze eggs in your mid 30s.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the costs associated with the initial procedure, maintenance of eggs and eventual implantation?
Response: Egg freezing is like IVF with a pause in the middle.
The initial costs of egg freezing include testing, consults, medications, monitoring, the egg retrieval, and egg freezing which can add up to approximately $8,000-$15,000.
Storages of eggs differs but can be $800.00-$1200.00 per year.
When you’re ready to use the eggs – you pay for the second part of IVF – egg thaw, fertilization with sperm, embryo culture, possibly genetic screening of embryos, medications, monitoring, and embryo transfer
MedicalResearch.com: What are the age limitations for harvesting and implanting eggs?
Response: There are no strict limits for egg freezing but counseling is important for anyone planning to freeze their eggs – egg freezing is not a guarantee of a baby in the future – it’s an opportunity and an investment in someone’s fertility. As eggs age – fewer of them are able to go through all the genetic work it takes to become a baby. Someone freezing eggs at age 40 needs realistic and transparent expectations for future outcomes.
The biggest limitations of fertility is the age and quality of eggs and sperm that create the embryo. Implantation can be successful for women of advanced reproductive age, even in menopause. As women age – the risk of pregnancy complications increase, especially with twins and multiple gestations. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reviewed egg and embryo donation in this document:
Women can conceive in their 40s, 50s, and beyond but there are health, medical, and ethical issues to consider and in general ASRM discourages attempting pregnancy after age 55 for many reasons.
MedicalResearch.com: What topics do you discuss on your ‘Baby or Bust’ podcast?
Response: We discuss all issues surrounding fertility including egg freezing, IVF, miscarriage, male factor fertility, sperm donation, surrogacy and more with experts in the field and fertility patients. It’s educating through story sharing and shattering stigma around infertility and miscarriage with real life family building journeys.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Egg freezing is a relatively new technology compared to the rest of IVF. The first IVF baby was born in 1978 but egg freezing didn’t really become widespread until ASRM lifted its experimental label in 2013. Egg freezing is an incredible opportunity but people need to be very well counseled about their opportunities and options.
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