Egg freezing: what you need to know about the process, risks and cost

The condition occurs in about 1% of women with egg freezing and is more common in those with polycystic ovary syndrome because PCOS can increase the risk of developing too many follicles, which in turn can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, said Dr. Christianson said.

Women who freeze their eggs at younger ages, in their 20s, are also at greater risk, according to Dr. Because larger egg supplies are a risk factor for hyperstimulation, Christianson said. The more eggs a woman has, the more likely it is that the medication she takes before egg retrieval will stimulate a large number of ovarian follicles.

Doctors can carefully monitor patients and reduce the risks of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, but anyone considering egg freezing should be counseled about the danger of the condition, said Dr. Christianson said.

Costs vary among fertility centers, but in general, a single cycle of egg freezing, including ultrasound monitoring and physician supervision, can cost between $4,500 and $8,000. Christianson said. Patients usually complete one or two cycles, he added. Insurance coverage may vary depending on the type of plan a patient has.

The injectable medication, separately, costs $4,000 to $6,000 per cycle, he said, depending on how much medication the patient needs.

Storing eggs is an additional cost – it can run up to $500 per year.

Egg freezing is no longer an experimental treatment, but it’s not a fertility panacea either. A study of more than 500 women, published this summer, found that the overall chance of a live birth from frozen eggs was 39 percent. The results also suggest that age and the number of eggs contributed to success rates: if a woman was younger than 38 or thawed more than 20 eggs, her chances increased significantly. Guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that there is not enough research to support egg freezing for the sole purpose of delaying childbearing.

Some experts, however, said anyone at risk of age-related infertility could be a candidate. Other people who might seek the procedure are those about to undergo chemotherapy, which could affect the ovaries, or people who identify as transgender or non-binary and are considering gender-affirming hormones, Dr. Adeleye said.

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