Causes & Treatment

What happens after egg freezing? 6 key questions to ask, before you freeze

Emma Harpham in partnership with Future Fertility  |   17 Sep 2023

Lifting the lid on the egg freezing process (step by step)

In 2023, more of us than ever are making the decision to preserve our fertility by turning to egg freezing, AKA oocyte cryopreservation.

It’s a fantastic option that can bring a lot of hope – whether it’s off the back of a fertility diagnosis, whilst you’re waiting to find a sperm donor, or simply out of a desire to keep your options open in the future.

But if that’s you, you might be starting to realize that there’s an incredible amount of uncertainty involved, too.

The whole egg freezing process is often accompanied by bare-minimum guidance.

And generally, patients get very little information after they’ve retrieved their eggs – leaving many with questions and concerns about what to expect, success rates, and the true value of their investments.

So, how can we best go about navigating the egg freezing process, in a way that puts us back in control?

The egg freezing process – questions to ask your clinic

Team TRB believes wholeheartedly in the importance of self-advocacy, wherever you are on your fertility journey. And the egg freezing process is no exception.

For top-notch tips, we’ve partnered with the expert team at Future Fertility. Their technology has been specifically developed to support egg freezing patients, helping to demystify the process and improve their outcomes.

From timeframes to this latest tech, here are the key egg freezing questions to ask.

1. When should I freeze my eggs? Is there an egg freezing age limit?

Talking timelines, “the earlier the better” is the main message you’ll encounter online. And in terms of age limits, it has been suggested that 39 years may be the ‘last call’ to freeze your eggs for a successful outcome.

But, the ‘optimal’ time for egg freezing isn’t the same for everyone, so chatting through these questions with your fertility specialist is really important, especially if you’re feeling worried about your options when it comes to building your family.

They’ll be able to factor in your current age and fertility profile and help you weigh up your own priorities as well as next steps together.

2. What technology and equipment does the lab use?

Ask your clinic whether they’re using the latest egg freezing tech. It might not be the first question that comes to mind, but it could massively benefit you. 

Right now, Future Fertility’s VIOLET™ tech is at the cutting edge. It allows your fertility team to take pictures of all of your eggs once retrieved and uses the latest AI techniques to assess them for quality.

You’ll receive a plain-English report with this info, along with a record of the number of eggs that you’ve frozen, a photograph of each egg, each egg’s probability of becoming a blastocyst (day 5 or 6 embryo), and – crucially – your chances of pregnancy success.

And, if your fertility team isn’t using this yet, it’s super easy to get started with. Jullin Fjeldstad, Head of Embryology & Scientific Operations at Future Fertility explains,

“Fertility labs can easily integrate VIOLET™ into their egg freezing processes.

Embryologists already assess freshly retrieved eggs under a microscope to determine maturation status, so by simply utilizing a camera attached to that microscope, they can capture images of each egg and upload them to our AI software for analysis.”

3. How many eggs should I freeze?

Whilst getting a straightforward answer from your fertility provider might feel like the natural first step, ask yourself this –

What is the number that would make me feel comfortable about investing in egg freezing? Would I feel happy with a 50% chance of success, for my time and effort? Or would I be willing to undergo more freezing cycles to increase that chance to 75%?

Online egg calculators use generalized, age-based estimates to come up with a number for you, but, again, every individual is different. Futher, one egg won’t necessarily equal success, so your family goals and personal budget should be part of the picture here, too.

We know – this all sounds really hard to juggle, and of course, you’re wanting to throw everything you have into building your family.

But pairing your expectations with your fertility team’s expert advice should help you feel like you’re making the most informed decisions pre-freezing.

egg freezing tech

4. How will I know that the quality of my eggs is going to be ‘good enough’?

This one is a biggie. The current standard of care for assessing egg quality in-clinic relies heavily on statistics, and whilst this can be helpful, it works off the unrealistic assumption that everyone in the same age group has the same egg quality – which doesn’t always stack up.

At a clinic using VIOLET™ tech, clear and easily digestible reports can help give you peace of mind that your personal situation is being taken into account, arming you with egg quality insights that are completely unique to you. 

5. What happens after egg freezing (& how long can I store them for?)

This may seem like an obvious one, but if you don’t get a straight answer, this should raise a few red flags in your mind. 

Once frozen, your eggs should be stored safely in a high-security facility. The length of time your eggs can be stored for actually depends on the country in which you’re having treatment, so make sure to check this question off the list!

In terms of how long frozen eggs last, studies tell us that they can be frozen for at least up to 8 years with IVF success rates remaining unaffected. And when they’ve been thawed, they’ll typically need to be fertilised using a fertility treatment called IVF ICSI.

Your fertility provider should be able to flesh out how this process works in more detail, as well as outline how they’d help you prep for treatment.

6. What are the egg freezing success rates for pregnancy?

Don’t forget to ask about success rates, and and how they stack up for someone in your situation. Pregnancy and birth rates can vary between clinics and even individual fertility specialists.

For example, VIOLET™ technology can make answering this question much simpler by amalgamating the results from all of your egg freezing cycles to predict the overall chance of success across all eggs that have been frozen.

This can take a huge weight off, and help you feel like you’re back in control of your family building journey.

Also, asking this question can help you understand how much experience your fertility provider has with egg freezing in particular – another important factor to take into consideration before you get started.

There we have it – the egg freezing process step by step, to get you started.

Got more questions? Head over to Future Fertility to learn more about how VIOLET™ personalized egg quality reports can help you make informed decisions you’ll feel good about as you take the next step on your egg freezing journey.

Watch their helpful explainer videos, and download a sample report, and locate a clinic near you that’s already using their next-gen tech.

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