Achieving pregnancy at an older age
If a woman still menstruates, pregnancy is possible. However, older women are at greater risk of pregnancy complications, including high blood pressure (BP), preeclampsia, miscarriage, stillbirth, and chromosomal abnormalities. Despite the risks, an older woman can still have a healthy pregnancy and carry a baby to full term under the supervision of a medical professional.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) encompasses a variety of medical options available to people with infertility issues. ART helps women produce and fertilize eggs and implant the resulting embryo into the uterus. Oocyte cryopreservation is the medical term for egg freezing. With cryopreservation, doctors remove unfertilized eggs from the body and store the eggs or embryos. When the woman is ready, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be used to achieve a pregnancy.
The basics of egg freezing
Oocyte cryopreservation is a multi-step process. First, doctors give patients medication that stimulates the growth of eggs. During this time, doctors monitor the patient and conduct tests to ensure the ovaries are responding. Then, during egg retrieval, doctors extract the eggs from the woman’s body and store the specimen for later use. The eggs can be stored for many years.
Embryo freezing vs egg freezing
An embryo is an egg that is already fertilized by sperm. To become pregnant, all the doctor has to do is implant the embryo into the woman’s body. Egg freezing, on the other hand, involves retrieving and shoring unfertilized eggs. A sperm sample would be required once the egg is ready to be used to create an embryo for implantation.
The right choice
Egg freezing is a good idea for a single woman looking to store eggs for a later pregnancy. Younger, healthier eggs can freeze time, making conception easier to achieve at an older age. Embryo freezing is great for couples struggling with fertility issues or couples who desire pregnancy together but not for some time.
Freeze now, pregnancy later
Doctors suggest women consider egg or embryo freezing in the 20s and 30s when the eggs are the most viable. After 35, egg harvesting can be a bit more difficult due to the quality of the eggs. For women with chronic illnesses like cancer, egg and embryo freezing can be very beneficial. Any woman interested in cryopreservation should consult a fertility specialist.