Freezing eggs Perth

Egg freezing and fertility preservation

Dr Richard Murphy

Egg freezing and fertility preservation

Eggs are essential for making babies. Sometimes we need to consider egg freezing as a way to store eggs for later use in situations where starting a family now is not possible for you, because you are not ready, or prior to high risk surgery or cancer treatment, or if you are a transgender man. Whatever your situation, collecting and storing eggs is worth exploring as a valid and viable option to preserve fertility.
Obstetrics and gynaecology consultations at my private practice in Subiaco.

Fertility consultations at Genea Hollywood Fertility

Delivering at the Labour Ward of SJOG Subiaco Hospital

Understanding fertility preservation

What is egg freezing?

Human eggs are not easy to come by. Women of fertile age usually produce no more than 1 egg per month. To collect the number of eggs needed to provide a realistic chance of at least one baby, later on, we need to collect multiple eggs. In fertility treatment, we do this through an IVF cycle, something which is now routinely done for many other reasons. With IVF your ovaries are carefully stimulated and your eggs collected.

"The difference between normal IVF and egg freezing is that with egg freezing your eggs are not fertilised and embryos are not produced."

Dr Richard MurphyFertility specialist Perth
freezing eggs perth
A typical egg “harvest” will result in 10-12 eggs being collected, though this figure can vary for individual patients.

Benefits of freezing eggs Perth

Why freeze your eggs?

Freezing your eggs can be the best way for some women to postpone starting a family until they are ready and able to do so, whether for medical or other social reasons. Sometimes advice along the lines of “don’t delay, start trying for children as soon as possible” is not helpful or practical. There are often very good reasons to avoid pregnancy at a particular time.

"I believe in reproductive autonomy. No one else will know what is best for you."

Having options is important. Any eggs you freeze will belong to you and you alone. Unlike embryos which usually belong jointly to a couple and can only be used if both parties agree, the choice of what to do with your eggs is yours alone, allowing maximum flexibility.
As women age, both the total number of eggs, but even more importantly the quality of their eggs, starts to reduce. This is the single biggest reason why female fertility drops with age and why miscarriage rates increase. Frozen eggs do not age as you do, they will retain the same capacity to produce babies if used in 6 months, a year or in 10 years’ time, the legally mandated limit for storing sperm, eggs or embryos in Western Australia. They can therefore act as a form of reproductive “insurance”.

Candidates freezing eggs Perth

Who is it for?

Women seeking egg freezing tend to fall into one of three groups. There are those with a pressing medical reason to freeze eggs. In these women, there is a malignant or benign condition, where treatment is often expected to significantly compromise the number of eggs remaining in their ovaries. This could be due to chemotherapy for cancer, surgery involving the ovaries, such as with advanced endometriosis or in medical conditions like Turner’s syndrome where early-onset premature ovarian failure is expected.

Other women may freeze eggs to counter the effect of age-related egg loss. Everyone’s situation will vary a little but the ideal time to freeze eggs in this situation is around the age of 34-36. We need to always consider whether the time, cost and energy needed to store frozen eggs are worth it. If you are younger than this and have a normal egg reserve after testing then it may be more likely you will find a partner and be in the position to start a family naturally before the effects of advancing age become clinically important. On the other hand, if you are much older, then your egg quality will be lower and hence the chances of producing a baby with frozen eggs will be lower. If you have concerns about the effect of age on your fertility then please come and see me, we can discuss your exact situation and preferences.

Finally, transgender men should consider the effect of transitioning treatments on their future fertility.

Fertility treatment Perth

Using your frozen eggs

Frozen eggs can be used in subsequent IVF treatments, where eggs are thawed and fertilised with sperm to produce embryos. These are then grown for five days when they will be ready for transfer to the uterus, hopefully resulting in a successful pregnancy. In some cases, it will be obvious that this is the only realistic way a pregnancy will happen. More often though your eggs will remain as a backup in case natural pregnancy does not occur after you start trying.

Cost egg freezing Perth

Is egg freezing covered under Medicare?

When there is a medically indicated reason to freeze eggs then Medicare will provide a rebate, making egg freezing significantly cheaper. This includes cases where the ovarian eggs reserve is lower than expected and when treatment such as chemotherapy may affect future fertility. Medicare will not provide a rebate when used for “social” egg freezing, where pregnancy is delayed for social reasons. This makes egg freezing a little more expensive in this situation. The positive here though is that women looking to do “social egg freezing” will have a normal ovarian reserve and can expect to collect a good number of eggs with each IVF cycle. Conversely, each IVF cycle will be cheaper for women with low ovarian reserve but we will expect fewer eggs to be collected with each cycle.

Perth fertility specialist Dr Richard Murphy

Choosing Dr Richard Murphy

Family is very important to me, as it is to many people. If you are preparing for treatment that may limit your ability to fall pregnant in the future, I can see you very urgently, fully assess your situation and organise the egg-freezing process quickly.
It can be difficult to find the right time to start a family, only you will know when the time is really right. If you would like to freeze eggs as future fertility insurance then please contact me. I see women and couples every week who struggle to complete their families due to the effect of advancing age. Frozen eggs can be an invaluable asset in this situation.