EGG FREEZING or EGG FERTILIZATION: What makes it so popular these days?
With the advent of technology, don’t you guys feel that everything is available to us at our fingertips (not quite literally, always)? But, life has definitely become easier, and we as humans may not take enough accountability for the same. Additionally, our daily hustle-bustle does not help either. From online shopping to conceiving babies, we as a race have evolved exponentially.
Yes, you heard that right, ladies! It’s so much easier to just have a baby when one is financially and emotionally ready, rather than doing it just to follow a societal norm. A cult film of the last decade, Yeh Jawaani Hain Diwani, had a very beautiful message portrayed by the protagonist, which translated to ‘finish your education by 22, get a job by 25, get married by 26 (this was from a boy’s perspective- hello Ranbir!), have kids by 30, retire by 60 and then wait till death says hello!’ Isn’t it quite a thought-provoking hyperbole? Of course, the so-called timelines and priorities have changed, and how!
With women carving a niche and proving their mettle outside their houses, they are just not willing to settle. From the concept of parents fixing a young couple’s marriage to taking matters into their own hands, couples give a lot of importance to finding the ‘right person. This has greatly affected and stretched the ‘appropriate age to get married’ and have children. A trend more popular in the West, women are no longer scared of starting their own families, as single parents. We believe that this has become possible, mainly due to the growing affinity towards EGG FREEZING and EGG FERTILIZATION– quite a boon in child-rearing, we must say.
What is EGG FREEZING ?
Thanks to contraception and assisted reproductive technologies, couples, today, have more control over the decision of starting a family. Bollywood films like ‘Vicky Donor’ and ‘Good Newz’ have done a phenomenal job in increasing our awareness on this topic in a hilarious and light-hearted manner. Although western statistics differ due to apparent cultural differences, the mean age to get married and consequently, to have children has increased from the early 20s to late 20s and early thirties.
We’re sure you’d be wondering what the by-products of such revolutionary breakthroughs are. Hold your breath, ladies, and expand your knowledge base for it might immensely help you or someone you may know. Giving us ‘Back to the Future’ vibes, egg freezing and egg fertilization have really changed the child-rearing game. But, has it really calmed our nerves? Yes and no. Read on to know more.
Egg freezing or ‘Oocyte cryopreservation (for all you Grey’s Anatomy fans) is a technique of fertility preservation where eggs are extracted from the ovaries and frozen to further use for embryo fertilization, aka in vitro fertilization.
Hey Doc, what’s the procedure?
Initially, a medical professional will take a comprehensive medical history of the patient, and ensure that the client is physically and psychologically ready for this somewhat daunting experience, in addition to giving hormone injection for 8-12 days and gauging their response in terms of the number of eggs the ovary stimulates. The other steps involve:
- A needle will be inserted into the ovarian follicles to recoup the ripened eggs, with the assistance of ultrasound or surgery (a tad bit invasive).
- Once, this goes through, the eggs will be frozen securely, as soon as possible, while maintaining their efficacy.
- To prevent it from becoming a harmful ice crystal, a special solution of liquid nitrogen is used to pause its aging in time.
- In the future, when you are ready, you can use the viable eggs for conception.
A great idea to ‘stop your biological clock from ticking’, this has been a step towards increasing the chances of successful pregnancies after the mid- 30s and ’40s. As we all know a woman’s fertility declines with age, and therefore, it is always better to opt for egg banking tactics. A successor of this method is what we call embryo freezing or IVF. Let’s explore it next.
What is EGG FERTILIZATION?
Don’t you feel that these two procedures can be equivocal of the yin to the yang phenomenon? If you’re an out-of-the-box thinker, you may relate to it. If you recollect the show, ‘Jane the Virgin’, the lead was artificially inseminated with a fused embryo. Once an egg is frozen, one can avail of it, when they deem the time is right to become a parent, but they may have missed the clock to have a biological child for several reasons. Following the freezing technique, the eggs are thawed in the laboratory to form an embryo through IVF, which involves fusing it with the sperm. However, contrary to recent folklore, egg freezing is a better option since the embryos are more delicate to survive the contemporary facilities.
IN-VITRO FERTILIZATION (IVF) - Science’s Answer to make Babies
A complex series of steps used to enable fertility or prevent genetic problems, IVF is used to artificially activate and fertilize the eggs and lead to the conception of a fetus. Through conventional insemination or an intra cytoplasmic sperm injection, fertilization chances increase too. It may be a last resort for someone with infertility issues, but it does not always guarantee a pregnancy.
The procedure, please?
Time to explore these steps for the same, a bit more, you lovelies:
- If you are above 35, having underlying medical or infertility issues, consult a specialist pronto!
- They’ll prescribe basic blood work and several parameters to screen your ovarian reserve, semen analysis, infectious diseases, or uterine examination.
- Fertility drugs are given to a woman as superovulation to boost her egg production.
- Next, a minor surgery is done to retrieve her eggs.
- The sperm is then mixed with the best eggs thereby fertilizing it. ICSI enhances the process.
- Once the embryo is formed, it will be closely monitored, and within 3-5 days, will be transferred into the woman’s womb using a catheter.
Now, that we know these basics, let’s delve into how beneficial it is.
BENEFITS AND EFFICIENCY
These techniques have greatly benefitted many women incredulously. For starters, they no longer have to worry about having children by a particular age. We are not saying that it is always successful, but it is a possibility. Egg freezing is more efficacious when it’s done at an earlier age to maintain health. IVF helps to address infertility issues especially in the age bracket of 40 years and more. Sometimes, males too may have lower sperm counts.
Some infertility related diseases in women include
- problems with the fallopian tubes, uterus, or ovulation
- Antibody issues
- Low penetration or survival rates in the cervical mucus.
- Poor egg quality
- Genetic diseases
Personal circumstances such as being in a homogenous relationship, external stressors, the lack of a life partner, or indulging in casual relationships call for such legitimate courses of action. Scope to revisit this decision in the future is a sensible measure to secure, you lovelies.
With an increased emphasis on career and education plans, women have been pursuing their goals and aspirations. Companies like Facebook and Apple encourage and fund these practices, thereby empowering women.
Diseases such as cancers, kidney or liver issues may hamper reproductive functioning due to the treatments like chemotherapy, which may have deleterious effects.
RISK FACTORS INVOLVED
In the causality of being, benefits are often followed by risks. While egg freezing and fertilization may be a much opted-for solution, it is a financially, physically, and emotionally draining experience. During the treatment cycles, women may suffer side effects from the hormone injections such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, uneasiness, swelling, and bloating. The aspirating fine needle used may rupture blood vessels, bowels, or the urinary bladder.
Emotionally, there may be increased irritability, moodiness, anxiety, or depression, especially when it tends to take a longer period of time. You know, as an afterthought, it may be advantageous to be in touch with a therapist or a specialized counsellor to help one through this journey. Other technical risks include miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, multiple births, premature deliveries, and birth defects in the newborn.
In fact, we asked a few women in their mid-twenties, who were nowhere the family route, and they were unanimously coherent in their thinking that they would like to freeze their eggs by the age of 27 or 28 to ensure higher fertilization in the future. Pretty relevant to the quote, “Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark”, right?
To conclude, we’d like to impart a special message for all our men readers- Your better halves are dealing with a lot of changes and modifications to their bodies just to start a new chapter; a miracle. Just keep them happy and positive; be their sounding boards and sources of strength. Kudos to being outstanding!