Egg freezing is an alternative used by many women who are not ready for motherhood, but wish to have children in the future. According to the National Institute of Statistics, the average age of the female population that gave birth to their first child in Spain was 32 years old last year.
However, as happens with mortgages, before launching to buy a house you have to read the small print well and know what the points of the contract are. Spain is one of the leading countries in Europe in this type of treatment .
Spain is one of the countries where egg freezing is cheaper with an average price that ranges between 2,000 and 4,000 euros since each clinic has established prices. However, the amount to be disbursed increases after the fifth year of conservation.
Generally, you have to pay a maintenance fee that can be between 200 and 300 euros. In addition, a study carried out by the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Brussels indicates that only 7.6% of European women who have frozen their eggs have used them.
The number of women who go for egg freezing has more than doubled since 2013. The Spanish Fertility Society indicates that this practice is on the rise in Spain. In some countries, companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google even offer this procedure to their employees. In 2017, the last date for which there are registered data, 4,000 vitrifications were carried out in the country .
The process of freezing eggs is the same as the first phase of in vitro fertilization. The treatment time is between two and three weeks. “It begins with the use of injected hormones for ten days and ultrasound to control the growth of the follicles, that is, the “bags that contain the ovules. A high number of eggs are generated for subsequent freezing”, explains the doctor at the HM Fertility Center (fertility division of the HM Hospitales hospital group), Marta Sánchez Dehesa. “Ten days later, vaginally and with mild sedation, we prick those follicles to retrieve the eggs,” she continues.
The profile of the patient who usually carries out this practice is a woman over 35 years of age in most cases, since they are the ones who see that it is not yet time to be mothers, but that their ovules are aging and time is running out, according to the doctor. However, the ideal age to carry out this type of treatment “is below 35. Between 20 and 30 years of age is where the woman has the best quality in her ovules.”
The probability of success depends on the age of the patient since the quality of the ovules deteriorates with age; and the number of eggs retrieved. “If we get about 14 or 16 oocytes, the chances are high,” says the doctor. All women are born with two million eggs that are reduced with age. Between the ages of 25 and 31 there are only 75,000 left and from 39 only 10,000, according to experts.
Frozen eggs do not have an expiration date, although many countries set a maximum time for which they can be stored . According to Law 14/2006 of May 26, these could be kept vitrified until the eve of their owner’s 51st birthday. Either because the owner of the gametes becomes pregnant naturally or because, over time, she decides not to use them for herself and refuses to donate them, the preservation could be extended for a limited time. In addition, the possible destinations that may be given to the oocytes are for use by the woman herself or her spouse and donation for reproductive purposes or for research purposes.
Most egg freezing cycles are carried out in private clinics . “The option of vitrifying eggs in social security depends on each autonomous community and preservation is contemplated only in justified cases such as cancer or premature ovarian failure,” explains the doctor. If the process is carried out at the request of the patient, it is done in the private sector.
A chance to have children for cancer patients
The American Cancer Society indicates that cancer surgery or treatment may affect fertility more than the cancer itself.. If the operation is performed near a reproductive, abdominal or pelvic organ, or the nervous system, it can affect the woman when it comes to becoming a mother.
As for radiotherapy, if the radiation is directed at or around the reproductive organs it can also be affected. The same goes for chemotherapy, the higher the dose of chemotherapy drugs, the more risk there is of damaging fertility. In half of the cases, the woman can recover her reproductive capacity naturally, after the treatment, but this is not always the case and that is why it is important, according to the experts, that the patient wishes to be a mother in the future and be informed of the options that exist.
The technological advances that have been carried out in recent years make this technique a reality. The change from classic freezing to vitrification is the main novelty. It is a deep-freezing process at approximately -200 degrees that prevents the formation of crystals inside the cells. “These crystals are responsible for the cells being damaged by freezing them slowly,” says the doctor.
Sophia Tesfaye is one of the highly experienced employees among the staff at the The Conway Bulletin News portal. Sophia handles our Finance and Technology column. She is an immensely knowledgeable person. She loves reading books, and by book, it means of all the genres. Maximum of the time she is found in the office library searching for topics for her articles. She is an excellent team leader and unique in her ways.