Long-term egg freezing offers infertile couples a new alternative

It wasn't that long ago that infertility was an extremely difficult obstacle for couples to find their way around.

But these days, countless fertility treatments are available, giving infertile couples everywhere more hope than ever for achieving a pregnancy.

The latest fertility breakthrough may be long-term egg freezing. This procedure allows a woman's eggs to be extracted and frozen years before she plans on using them to achieve a pregnancy.

These eggs can be frozen indefinitely. Once the woman is ready to pursue pregnancy, the eggs can be fertilized and then transferred back into the woman's uterus, allowing an older woman to get pregnant using much younger, much healthier eggs.

This option, proponents say, gives women far more flexibility in treatment. For example, a woman can still pursue her career or wait on finding a partner/sperm donor, knowing that when she is ready to start a family she will still have healthy eggs available for use.

Dr. Randall Craig, Medical Director at the Fertility Treatment Center in Tempe, Ariz., helped design the technology for this treatment and recently assisted in the first frozen egg pregnancy in the southwestern United States.

Dr. Craig recently told KTVK in Phoenix that this option is especially attractive to women facing serious medical issues, including treatment for cancer.

"We stimulate the ovaries before they do chemotherapy or radiation therapy, freeze their eggs, then they can have their cancer therapy," he said.

According to www.extendfertility.com, the average cost of freezing and storing eggs is between $9,000 and $13,000 per cycle, not including any medications or the eventual costs of IVF.

In addition, according to Dr. Craig, the pregnancy success rate for frozen eggs is typically between 1/3 and 1/2 of success rates using frozen embryos (including through Embryo Donation and Adoption), though he does expect newer technology to greatly improve those rates significantly.

Is this a fertility option you would ever consider pursuing?

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