When I decided to freeze my eggs, I didn’t know much about the process. I knew injections were involved but that’s about it.
So I did a ton of research (which you are probably doing now). The whole process may look like a lot but the timeline of everything moves fairly quickly. For me, I only had to take the medication for 9 days but the entire process took about three months (because the clinic I went to was so busy).
(Read about why I froze my eggs at 28 here.)
Below I break down the five main steps to freezing your eggs. I hope this post can be a helpful guide for you! (Also, subscribe to my egg freezing newsletter where I send out info on egg freezing grants, scholarships, and tools.)
Step 1: Preparing for Egg Freezing
Freezing your eggs is an empowering decision and it’s great that you’re considering it.
To prepare for egg freezing, there are a few things you can do to get yourself ready. First off, it’s important to do your research and create a list of fertility centers in your area. Reach out and do a consultation with a fertility specialist. I searched FertilityIQ on reviews about places.
If you are on hormonal birth control like the pill you will need to discontinue it temporarily.
Initial consultation with fertility specialist
During an initial egg freezing consultation with a fertility specialist, you can expect a thorough discussion about the process and what to expect. The specialist will review your medical history, including any previous reproductive issues or concerns.
Just so you know, my reproductive endocrinologist asked me if I had a history of sexual abuse when I was younger and if my mom or grandma had reproductive challenges.
The specialist will likely discuss the process of ovarian stimulation, which involves taking medications to encourage the development of multiple eggs. They will also explain the egg retrieval procedure, which is a minor surgical procedure done under sedation.
Blood tests and ultrasound
During your first egg freezing appointment, your doctor will assess your ovarian reserve to determine the quantity and quality of your eggs.
It’s important to schedule this appointment on the second or third day of your period, as this is when your hormone levels are at their most stable.
Your clinic will conduct blood tests to measure your levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH). These hormones provide insight into your ovarian reserve and help your doctor determine the best course of action for egg freezing.
In addition to blood tests, you will also have a transvaginal ultrasound.
The ultrasound provides a detailed image of the ovaries, allowing the doctor to count the number of follicles and assess their size and quality.
I ago did a genetic screening carrier test during my bloodwork.
Prescribing birth control pills to regulate menstrual cycle
Some women may be prescribed birth control pills to take for two weeks to help regulate their menstrual cycle before they start egg freezing. This is because having a regular menstrual cycle is important for the success of the egg freezing process. I did this!
The pills can also assist in preventing any unforeseen or irregular periods, which may affect the timing of the egg retrieval process.
Step 2: Medication
During the egg freezing process, a woman is typically prescribed a series of medications to help stimulate the ovaries and control the timing of ovulation.
One common medication is a Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which helps to promote the growth of multiple eggs in the ovaries. This is usually administered through daily injections for about 8-12 days. Remember, many of these medications need to be refrigerated!
Additionally, a medication called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) may be used to trigger ovulation once the eggs have reached a certain size and maturity.
Other medications like Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) agonists or antagonists may also be prescribed to prevent premature ovulation.
It’s important to note that the specific medications and dosages can vary depending on an individual’s unique medical history and response to the treatments.
Administering injectable medication to stimulate multiple egg development
Women are usually instructed to administer these injectable medications subcutaneously, which means injecting them into the fatty tissue just below the skin. The common injection sites include the abdomen, thighs, or upper arms.
I injected myself both morning and night. The needles are small and you get used to it.
Monitoring follicle growth and appointments
To monitor follicle growth, your fertility doctor will schedule transvaginal ultrasounds and hormone level checks throughout your cycle.
During the ultrasound, a small probe is inserted into the vagina to allow for a clear view of the ovaries. This allows the doctor to assess the number and size of the follicles, which are small fluid-filled sacs that contain the eggs.
At the same time, blood tests will your measure estrogen and progesterone levels. By tracking these hormone levels, your doctor can assess the progress of follicle growth and adjust your medication as needed. I did about four or five blood tests in total.
Your fertility nurse will also regularly call you to update and adjust your medication during this process. The number of appointments a woman may have while egg freezing can vary, but typically, you will have several ultrasounds and blood tests either every day or every other day in the mornings
Step 3: Administering the trigger shot
The trigger shot involves injecting yourself with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The hCG medication mimics the natural surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) that occurs before ovulation in a natural cycle.
The timing of the trigger shot is EVERYTHING. It needs to be administered when the eggs are mature and ready for ovulation. Your nurse will instruct you on the precise time to administer the trigger shot, typically 24-36 hours before the scheduled egg retrieval procedure.
To administer the trigger shot, your healthcare provider will provide you with detailed instructions. This medication is usually administered in your lower stomach or upper thigh.
It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully
For more information on administering the trigger shot and fertility treatment, consult your healthcare provider or fertility specialist.
Related post: 5 ways to freeze your eggs for free
Step 4: The egg retrieval procedure
During the egg retrieval surgery, which is also known as oocyte retrieval, you’ll be sedated to make sure you’re comfortable throughout the whole thing.
The doctor will use a transvaginal ultrasound probe to locate your follicles, and then a thin needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to extract the eggs from the ovaries. This may sound scary but don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing!
The whole procedure takes about 10-30 minutes, and you’ll be monitored for a little while after to make sure everything is going smoothly. Afterward, you may experience some mild cramping and discomfort, but that’s totally normal and should subside within a few days.
You will need a driver to take you home.
Step 5: Storing your eggs
After the eggs are retrieved, they are carefully frozen and stored in a laboratory until a woman is ready to use them.
The general cost of egg freezing storage can vary depending on the clinic and location, but it typically ranges from $500 to $1000 per year. I pay $650/year to keep my eggs frozen. I use my HSA to pay for it. Some clinics may offer packages that include the cost of storage for a certain number of years.
How long can eggs stay frozen after egg freezing?
You may be wondering how long your eggs can stay frozen after you’ve gone through the process of egg freezing.
Eggs can remain frozen indefinitely in the U.S. as long as they are stored properly in a reliable cryopreservation facility.
My doctor told me to come back and use them no later than 52!
If you have any questions about egg freezing feel free to read my other posts. And message me on Instagram to chat more!