First of all, a little background you need to know about us: we want to use all embryos that are created through IVF without freezing or discarding any. This means we did a limited fertilization of only 3 eggs in IVF #1, and plan to do the same in IVF #2. You can read more about why we are doing that here if you would like. Just know that this is important to us, so it will be useless to say, "Really, the best bet is to just freeze embryos...." :)
Since we only needed 3 mature eggs, our RE did a "minimal stimulation" cycle for IVF #1. The idea was why spend the extra money for medicine and run the risk of OHSS to retrieve a lot of eggs that would essentially go to"waste." (Although, could somebody with a high FSH (10.9) and moderate AFC (~10) get OHSS?) Anyway, at that time we had asked about egg freezing, but our RE said it is still very experimental and he can't recommend it. I also think we were just really hopeful that IVF #1 would work, so we didn't consider it further.
But as we talked about IVF #2, the idea came up again. Now that I know first hand how much time, money, and emotions go into an IVF cycle, the idea of egg freezing feels like we could "get more bang for our buck" while still operating within our ethical parameters.
Pros for egg freezing:
- We could freeze eggs for future IVF attempts, whether after 3 failed fresh cycles now or for baby #2 down the road.
- If they might be used for baby #2, this would be a way of potentially preserving my fertility. My FSH is high, darnit, and I'm only 28 (er...29 on Tuesday). Who knows how high it will be in 2 years?!
- If we used frozen eggs in the future, the FE(gg)T cycle would be considerably less medicine, stress, and time than a fresh IVF cycle.
- If we used frozen eggs in the future, the cost of a FE(gg)T cycle would be considerably less than a fresh IVF cycle.
- My RE has offered to freeze the eggs and store them for 1 year for free.
- There might even be enough eggs to freeze for more than 1 future cycle (for example, if we got 12 eggs, fertilized 3, and froze 9...that might be enough for 2-3 future attempts).
- I guess all of this gives me a little extra "peace of mind." It's similar to the feeling of having some cash saved for a rainy day. We would have some eggs ready to go...
- My RE is not recommending it. In his opinion this is still very experimental, and he feels like he can't suggest it to a patient unless he knows through well documented medical studies that there is a reasonable amount of success, and he has not had enough success with it. The technology is not quite there yet.
- I asked if his clinic has frozen eggs, and he said yes. But of all of the people whose eggs have been frozen, only two have come back to use their eggs....and they were unsuccessful. So a 0/2 track record at this point is not very encouraging.
- I have read that some clinics are more advanced in this area than others, and it doesn't sound like my clinic is one of the "advanced" ones. My clinic does a high volume of IVF cycles per year and has high success rates, but it just doesn't seem like they moved aggressively into the egg freezing territory. Would it be worth it to try this at a clinic that hasn't done much of it? (But we are very happy at our clinic, and we do not feel like it would be worth it to switch clinics just to do egg freezing).
- Even though it would be cheaper to do a FE(gg)T cycle and my RE has offered to freeze the eggs for free, there would still be additional costs (obviously). Is it worth it to pay the extra money when the odds of success seem rather low? ~$1,500 for extra medicine to retrieve as many eggs as possible + $2,200 for the FE(egg)T cycle + $650 for the 2nd year of egg storage = $4,350....for a gamble? On something our RE can't even give us our odds of success on? It is over half the price of a fresh cycle, but at least with a fresh cycle we have a 50% chance of success. (But, like I said in the "pro" section, we could *maybe* get more than one cycle's worth of eggs out of one round of egg freezing...which would lower the $4,350 number to maybe $3,000 per attempt).
Thoughts? I know ultimately my DH & I are the only ones who can make this decision, but do you know anything else about egg freezing? Advice? What would you do if you were in my position?