Freeze’s “Eggspert” Answers series provides women answers to common, important questions they have when considering to freeze their eggs - answered by world-renowned medical experts. This post is answered by Freeze and Dr. Joshua Klein, Chief Clinical Officer and Reproductive Endocrinologist at Extend Fertility in NYC.
Will freezing your eggs impact your chance of getting pregnant naturally down the road? The short answer: no, because egg freezing makes use of eggs that would otherwise have been lost in a process known as “atresia.”
Ovaries + follicles + eggs - oh my!
During each menstrual cycle (typically each month), one egg makes it through the whole ovulatory process. The egg follicle (the sac in which the immature egg waits) is activated, the egg grows and matures, and then—once it reaches maturation—it breaks free from the ovary and begins its journey down the fallopian tubes.
But there are tons of other eggs that don’t make it past that first stage. In each cycle, a number of follicles are activated; how many depends on your ovarian reserve, and can be measured during an antral follicle count via ultrasound. When the immature eggs inside those follicles don’t mature, they simply die off within a few weeks.
Saving extra eggs for later
Egg freezing makes use of some of those otherwise lost eggs. The egg freezing process uses hormone medication to prompt your ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs in one cycle instead of the usual one, so you can freeze them for when—or if—you might need them later on.
Therefore, the process of egg freezing doesn’t take anything away from your egg reserve, and won’t affect your chance of getting pregnant naturally in the future. What it will do is provide you with a backup option if you have difficulty conceiving naturally when you’re ready to start a family.
Dr. Joshua Klein is an accomplished board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He earned his medical degree at Harvard University, completing his residency in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General and Brigham & Women’s Hospitals, and his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Columbia University. He is passionate about helping women understand their fertility and make smart, informed, and individualized decisions about their options for planning a family.