We're talking about eggs of the reproductive kind (definitely not the chocolate) because for any 20-something woman it's important to be clued-in when it comes to fertility. No longer is it something you'll "just deal with when it's time to have a baby" — egg health is important at any age. And with more women choosing to have babies in their 30s, now is the perfect time. So should you freeze your eggs? Keep reading for all you need to know.
When to Be Concerned About Your Egg Health
This completely depends on your body and your overall health. According to Dr. Carolyn Alexander, if you have regular periods and no other health issues, your early 30s is when you should start thinking about the health of your eggs. "If you have irregular periods, or skip periods all together (while off birth control pills) it's better to get evaluated sooner than later with hormonal blood tests," says Dr. Carolyn. "In addition, if your mother or close family member had early menopause, this may be a clue for a genetic issue that may affect your fertility as well."
Is There a Right Time to Freeze Your Eggs?
It's no secret the younger you are the more fertile you are, therefore the younger you choose to freeze your eggs, the better. But is it necessary for all women? Dr. Carolyn admits that if a woman is facing surgery for endometriosis, or treatment of a medical condition that may impair future fertility, it's definitely something to consider, and sooner is certainly better. While freezing your eggs comes with no guarantee, it can help provide peace of mind to anyone who has no other option than to conceive in their late 30s or 40s, when it might be a little more challenging to conceive. Of course, chatting to your doctor or gynaecologist will give you a clearer picture, so always seek medical advice before making your mind up.
Is It a Dangerous Process?
According to Dr. Carolyn, the process involves 10-12 days of injections that help stimulate follicles, which are fluid-filled sacs that have a microscopic egg inside. The medications may lead to bloating, fatigue and mood swings, and there's a rare chance of blood clots and ovarian torsion (flipping of the ovary, hence limited exercise is recommended during the injection window of time). "The egg harvest or retrieval involves a procedure under a light anaesthesia to safely obtain the eggs through the vagina under direct visualisation with ultrasound," says Dr. Carolyn. "There are some minor risks to this procedure including pain, bleeding and infection, though these are rare."