At Procrea Fertility, preserving your fertility is one of our priorities. Egg freezing is an excellent option for women who need or want to delay pregnancy. In the interest of transparency, we wish to provide you with all the necessary answers that will allow you to make clear decisions regarding the preservation of your fertility. Here are the most frequently asked questions we have been able to collect on this subject.
The egg freezing process
Do I need a referral from a Health care provider to access the services of a fertility clinic?
A referral is required to access services and care related to fertility treatment or preservation. However, some clinics such as Procrea Fertility grant direct access to fertility specialists without prior consultation with a family doctor or an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN), in the case of a woman waiting for cancer.
However, it is also advisable to speak with your family doctor about your concerns about infertility before making an appointment with a specialist.
Is it possible to do fertility tests without having to freeze the eggs?
Absolutely! A gynecologist specializing in reproductive medicine is trained to diagnose and treat fertility problems. A fertility specialist will be able to refer you to various tests and treatments to treat the conditions that may affect your fertility. Visit our webite’s pages When to consult a fertility specialist and Fertility Assessment to learn more!
What is the egg freezing process?
Here are the different steps of our egg freezing program:
- Ovarian reserve test, ultrasound and laboratory tests to look for various hormones and the presence of STIs
- Consultation with a specialist to establish treatment
- Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation
- Egg retrieval
- Egg freezing
How many times does the process need to be done?
This depends on several factors, including the number of frozen eggs and the age at the time of the puncture. The success rate for those who decide to freeze their eggs before the age of 35 can reach up to 95% in cases of 24 or more eggs, while the same rate is up to 50% if freezing is done after the age of 35. It should also be taken into account that freezing your eggs does not guarantee a child.
Is the process painful and/or does it cause side effects?
The egg retrieval procedure itself is not painful. After the procedure, the woman may feel a little pain, a little tired, and recovery may take between 24 and 48 hours to feel normal again. From a side effect point of view, bloating may be felt due to the ovaries becoming larger.
The costs involved in egg freezing
What are the costs associated with egg freezing?
On average it would cost about 5.000$ for an egg retrieval. In addition, there are storage fees (approximately $300/year) that will be paid later on in the process when it’s decided that it’s time to fertilize and transfer the eggs. ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), and FET (frozen embryo transfer). RAMQ covers the procedure for cancer cases and storage for the first 5 years and Procrea Fertility offers this service free of charge for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Is fertility preservation covered by the RAMQ/health insurance?
Oocyte freezing is currently not covered by the RAMQ. Currently, infertile Quebecers are entitled to a tax credit ranging from 20% to 80% of the cost of treatment, depending on salary. However, coverage for fertility treatments may vary from one province to another in Canada.
The Ontario government covers the cost of an IVF cycle. Procrea Fertility clinics in Ontario have been officially approved by the Ontario Ministry of Health to provide fertility treatments funded by Medicare.
On November 11, 2020, the Quebec government introduced the long-awaited bill to reinstate free access to certain AHR treatments. Eligible couples will have free access to an in vitro fertilization cycle depending on criteria set forth when this bill is officially passed*.
*Please note this bill has not yet passed.
How is egg quality evaluated?
There is no formal test to determine egg quality. However, quality is directly linked with age. This factor affects the rate of eggs that contain genetic abnormalities and which may increase naturally with age. Freezing the eggs preserves their quality, so we recommend that they be frozen before the age of 35 in order to increase the chances of pregnancy afterwards.
Why does egg quality decrease with age?
Generally, egg quality is related to its age and we begin to see a decline around 37-38 years old.The decline continues until the age of 45, when the natural fertility rate per month is approximately 1%. The success rate in IVF is higher (35% to 40%) in women under 35 years of age, and decreases to approximately 5% in women 42 years of age and older. This is due to the natural ovarian reserve, which decreases with age.
Will a baby born with a frozen egg be as healthy as another?
In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) reported that no increase in chromosomal abnormalities, birth defects, and developmental deficits were reported in offspring born from cryopreserved oocytes compared to conventional IVF/ICSI pregnancies and the general population. The evidence indicates that oocyte vitrification and warming should no longer be considered experimental.
In fact, more recently in 2020, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) internationally recognized egg freezing as an acceptable option to offer to women.
How long can eggs be frozen?
The standard storage period for eggs is about 10 years. The period may be extended for circumstances involving women at risk of premature infertility due to medical treatments such as chemotherapy.
Finally, how do I make an appointment with a fertility specialist?
You can make an appointment in one of our clinics by phone call or via our contact form. Inquire about your first visit with us!
We hope to have answered your questions as well as possible. If any doubts persist, do not hesitate to contact us. We will answer as soon as possible!
For more information on other topics, please visit our blog which discusses fertility and related treatments for women, men, and couples in the LGBT2Q+ community.