Fertility is something that women aren't encouraged to talk about. But we want to change that.
Newsreader Alexandra Bryant decided that she wanted to freeze her eggs, and she invited us to join her on the journey. Alexandra chose to freeze her eggs with Dr Lynn Burmeister from No 1 Fertility, which is based right here in Melbourne.
By sharing her experience, we want to help make it easier for women to learn more about the options that are available to them when it comes to fertility and having children.
Watch Alexandra's journey here:
Frequently Asked Questions About The Egg Freezing Process
Do you have questions about freezing your eggs now that you've watched Alexandra's journey? We had plenty - so we reached out to the team at No 1 Fertility to ask them everything you might want to know!
1. How many eggs should you store, and can you have more than one egg retrieval?
It’s difficult to predict how many eggs you will get per retrieval, every woman's body responds differently to the drugs in a stimulation. Dr Lynn recommends having at least 20 eggs frozen but this could occur over several cycles.
2. Do you have more info on the drugs taken beforehand – what are they for and are there any side effects?
The drugs are specific to the type of stimulation Dr Lynn decides for you. At your nurse consult, the nurse will go through all the drugs you will use in preparation for your retrieval. This includes the side effects and things to note, our affiliated pharmacy also reiterates this information when you collect your medication.
3. How much does it cost including scans and storage of eggs - and is any of it covered by Private Health?
The cost is dependent on what type of cycle you’re undertaking, our finance department goes through all the costing in length prior to you starting with us. Some items are covered under Private Health but will depend on your health fund and the type of cycle you are having.
4. In the video Alexandra had a cyst, how common is it to find something like this?
It is not unusual, and cysts often go away with treatment. These are often called ovulation cysts.
5. What is the recovery process/timing post operation and are there any risks?
The retrieval operation and recovery can take between 2 - 2.5 hours, as with any operation there are risks. Some of the complications may include the following: pain, bloating, discomfort, infection, bleeding, damage to internal organs and overstimulation syndrome.
6. How long can your eggs be stored for and what measures do the clinic do to ensure that they won’t mix up your eggs with someone else’s?
Eggs can be stored for a maximum of 10 years and then extensions can be requested easily. The clinic has strict witnessing procedures in place so "mix ups" don’t occur, and all patient tissue is labelled with three points of identification. It is this identification that is witnessed by two staff members at all points of handling. We are also introducing an automated witnessing system.
7. What are the statics surrounding fertility vs age and at what age do our eggs start to become drastically fewer?
We are born with 1-2 million eggs, as a teenager you have around 400,000 eggs left. By the time we are 30 we only have 10% left. The quality of our eggs also declines and by the time we’re 28 years of age 25% of our eggs have chromosomal abnormalities and this increases to 40% at 35. For this reason, Dr Lynn recommends egg freezing before your 35th birthday. Freezing your eggs does not guarantee a baby, frozen eggs when used in an IVF cycle result are just as good as fresh eggs in IVF. However, just as IVF does not guarantee a baby, we cannot guarantee that freezing your eggs will ensure you have a baby when you come to use them.
8. What are the next steps in the process?
The next steps are up to the patient, when that time comes it is best to make an appointment with your Fertility Specialist to discuss next options. If the next step is using the frozen eggs, then the IVF process starts.
This content is proudly presented by Number 1 Fertility. For more information please go to number1fertility.com.