What Women With PCOS Should Know About Egg Freezing

“Why at twenty-eight years of age are you freezing your eggs?” I received this question a lot from family and friends. But, I didn’t let their lack of education on fertility preservation and unawareness of my diagnosis of PCOS change the decision I made for my future self. And I am forever grateful for the decision I made to freeze my eggs.

I consider myself lucky, and this is why. I am a fertility nurse at Main Line Fertility. Given the opportunity to work in this field of nursing has opened my eyes to life changing situations. I have been able to educate myself on one of the most important topics in the female world- fertility. The majority of the female population do not get the proper education they need to make accurate decisions for themselves present and future. And more often than not, it’s too late.

“If I only knew…” is the most common phrase I hear from my patients. One of the most common situations, this statement refers to is when a woman comes to terms with the fact that she can no longer use her eggs to achieve pregnancy. Unfortunately, most women don’t realize fertility peaks in their early twenties and decreases as they age. Why is this a problem? The problem is many women are not starting to have a family until their mid to late thirties. A woman’s peak fertility years are from 20-28 years of age. Once a woman hits 35 years of age, her fertility decreases drastically and continues to decrease as she ages. But, the good news is women have the option to virtually stop the biological clock by choosing to freeze their eggs before the decline in egg quality happens.

What is Egg Freezing?

Oocyte Cryopreservation or egg freezing is the process of extracting, freezing and storing of a woman’s eggs. Most importantly, egg freezing allows a woman to halt the ticking of her biological clock and bank her eggs for future use.Injectable fertility medications are used to stimulate the ovaries to help the ovaries recruit follicles. These self-administered injectable medications are taken for about 10 -12 days. The length of time one will take these medications depends on one’s response. During this time, a woman will get routine blood work, and ultrasounds performed to monitor hormone levels and the size of her follicles. Once the follicles have reached maturity, she will take the “trigger” injection. This injection contains hCG, and needs to be taken 36 hours prior to the retrieval. The purpose of this injection is to complete the final stage of the follicular growth.

Prior to the egg retrieval, a woman will be put under anesthesia in order to perform the procedure. The doctor will then use an ultrasound-guided needle to aspirate the mature eggs from the follicles. The egg retrieval process only takes about thirty minutes to complete. When all of the eggs are retrieved, the embryologists assess the eggs for maturity. Only mature eggs will be eligible for freezing since immature eggs do not fertilize. The mature eggs will be placed in solutions that will protect them during the freezing process. Once frozen, the eggs are kept in liquid nitrogen tanks and stored in the laboratory until ready for use.

Financially, egg freezing can be a costly life event to take on. And this can be one of the main reasons why a woman chooses not to freeze her eggs. Fortunately, there is a financial package at Main Line Fertility to help make egg freezing more financially feasible. Other fertility clinics may offer similar packages. Please visit www.eggviceforwomen.org for more information.

As you can see, this is why I consider myself lucky. I’ve been educated about the resources available to help me make the best choices for myself. Dr. Michael Glassner says it perfectly, “making the best choice today allows you to have the best options tomorrow.” And I’ve made it my personal mission to spread the awareness of egg freezing through an educational organization I’ve started called EggviceforWomen. The goal is to empower women to allow them to further their career, pursue additional education, or wait for the right partner without sacrificing their fertility.

Bridget Brennan photo

Bridget Brennan, RN, BSN, founder of EggviceforWomen created her educational organization in 2014 with the support of Main Line Fertility. After joining Main Line Fertility’s team, Bridget saw early on the lack of education women have when it comes to fertility. She routinely heard a common phrase said by patients daily that had inspired her to start EggviceforWomen. Bridget says, “If I can reach one woman, I know I have succeeded.”

Bridget graduated from Villanova University with her RN, BSN in 2008. After she had graduated, she took her first nursing job at Inova Fairfax Hospital as a mother-baby nurse. After living in the District of Columbia area for two years, she decided it was time to move back to the Philadelphia area. She took a position as a mother-baby nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She worked at HUP for about a year when an opportunity presented itself at another local hospital. She decided to leave HUP at this time and took a mother-baby position at Lankenau Hospital. While at Lankenau Hospital, she was given an opportunity to work for Main Line Fertility as a fertility nurse. Bridget says, “It’s my dream job, and I can’t believe I have found my true passion in life.”


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