Egg Freezing has gained popularity in recent years as the go-to option for delayed parenthood.
With increasing numbers of fertility providers now offering the service - in which a woman's eggs are surgically collected then stored and preserved for future use - not to mention companies such as Facebook and Google now offering egg preservation as an employee benefit, the trend looks set to continue.
So why freeze your eggs? For some, it's a medical necessity, for example in women needing to undergo cancer treatment and wanting to safeguard their ability to have a family in the future.
For others, it might be because they're not in a relationship with someone they'd like to have children with, or because they've a career or personal goal they'd like to fulfil before starting a family.
Here we talk to Sally, now 41, who did an egg freezing cycle at Manchester Fertility when she was age 39 about her own experience.
1. Why did you decide to freeze your eggs?
I was nearing my 40th Birthday and thought time was ticking, although I had been thinking about doing it since my mid 30’s. I hadn’t met anyone and thought: "what if I do, then try for a baby and find that my eggs have depleted and are no good?", so egg freezing is my back up plan! The advice from my consultant was to watch the film ‘The Back Up Plan’. It’s a good romcom - and who doesn’t like J-Lo?!
2. How did you find the treatment?
I found the injection part a little boring by the end of it. I’m glad I don’t have to inject myself for life! I was worried about having my eggs collected as I’ve never had a general anaesthetic before but it’s like having a lovely sleep.
3. Did it interfere with work?
I was worried it would interfere but decided it would be best to do the injections at the same time every day in the morning and evening when I was at home. The one thing you can’t really plan for though is when the egg collection will be.
4. Did you have any help or support when you were doing the treatment?
As I am single I did all my injections myself but when I had the eggs collected I got my sister to drop me off and collect me.
5. Did you know anyone else who’d been through the procedure?
I have friends that have gone through IVF and a few who'd had egg collection as part of their treatment. But I didn't ask them about it, partly because I forgot but also I wasn't sure if they'd remember as it was a while ago and many more things have happened since then - like babies!!
6. Was it easy to find a clinic?
I googled fertility clinics in my area and read reviews of the one I chose. If I lived near my friends who'd had treatment before I'd have asked them where they went and if they gave a positive recommendation I would have probably gone there.
7. Did you have to have any tests prior to treatment?
I had a fertility check around 9 months before I started treatment which included blood tests and an internal scan to check how many follicles I had. Then before I started the egg freezing cycle I had further blood tests and internal scans.
8. What do you think your next step will be?
I am still deciding what I will do next. I’m not sure whether to use a sperm donor, ask someone I know or perhaps I might find a partner. Even though I really want to be a mother there is a lot of planning involved as I would like to have a year off after giving birth so there are still lots of sums to do first!
9. Do you have any advice for anyone who may be considering egg freezing?
One thing I didn’t think would be needed before I had the procedure was a counselling session. I didn’t think it would be as emotional as it was. Counselling was a compulsory part of treatment at the clinic I went to.
As for the actual treatment itself doing the injections is ok but boring. However be prepared for disappointment in collection, you just don’t know how many eggs you will produce. I had 15 eggs of which 10 were of maturity which is pretty good for a woman my age but who knows if the quality is good, we shall see….