Elective Egg Freezing

If you want to have a child in the future, but are not in a position to become pregnant right now, then choosing to freeze your eggs may help you to conceive in the future - once you're ready to start a family. 

A woman is most fertile in her 20s and early 30s when her ovaries still contain a large number of healthy eggs. As a woman ages, the quality and quantity of her eggs declines. For the 10 to 15 years before menopause, despite having regular monthly periods, ovarian function declines. This is especially so for women in their 40s who are unlikely to produce a healthy pregnancy.

Get the Facts

There’s a lot to consider whether freezing your eggs is right for you, and the best place to start is to have a 1:1 consultation with a Melbourne IVF Fertility Specialist.

A Fertility Specialist can help you to better understand your options when it comes to Elective Egg Freezing, and will take a medical history, arrange any necessary investigations including blood tests and ultrasound assessment of the ovaries, as well as arrange a counselling referral if appropriate.

You will need a referral from your GP or a medical practitioner to a Melbourne IVF fertility specialist for egg freezing. Download our fertility referral form at the bottom of this page.

Hear from Dr Raelia Lew around what you need to know when it comes to social egg freezing:

Egg freezing costs

Costs – making it convenient and affordable

At Melbourne IVF, we offer the convenience to pay for your elective egg freeze over 12 months. It is a convenient and affordable way for you to budget and pay for the cost of your elective egg freeze cycle over time, with no complicated finance contracts or approval processes.

Below are the costs of elective egg freezing if you choose to freeze your eggs for non-medical reasons. Please note in Australia, Medicare rebates only apply to medical fertility preservation.   

Egg freezing treatment cycle$4,440
Day surgery & anaesthetist$1,175
Initial 12 month storage*$500
Storage is then $250*/ 6 months (or $500 per year) ongoing
What is the egg freezing process?

Egg freezing is a method of storing a woman’s unfertilised eggs, with a view to them being used in the future. It may be seen as a way of preserving potential fertility, in women who are not in a position to currently become pregnant or those requiring preservation of their fertility for medical reasons.

When the woman is ready to use her eggs, they are thawed and then fertilised with sperm. Depending on your circumstances, you may have enough time before starting your chemotherapy or radiotherapy to have more than one cycle of hormone stimulation and egg retrieval. This ensures that you have a reasonable number of eggs to freeze and therefore an increased chance of a future pregnancy.

To obtain eggs for freezing, a woman undergoes hormonal stimulation over 10–12 days which stimulates a group of eggs (usually 10–15) to mature. There are a variety of stimulation techniques for this and your fertility specialist will decide, in discussion with you, which is the most appropriate for you.

The stimulation medications are usually self-administered by an injection using a tiny needle under the skin and are very easy to administer. Patients are taught how to do this in an instructive introductory session with a Melbourne IVF fertility nurse. The injections may make the woman feel a little bloated, but she can carry out all normal activities up until the day of the egg retrieval.

Procedure to remove the eggs

The eggs are removed from the ovaries using an ultrasound guided probe whilst the patient is asleep under sedation. Attached to the ultrasound probe is a needle guide. The fine needle passes through the vaginal wall into the ovary and draws the fluid (and egg) from the ovary.

The entire procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes and patients can go home about one hour after the procedure and are advised to rest quietly for the rest of the day. It’s often suggested to take at least half the following day off work and someone will need to pick you up after the procedure as you may feel tired or groggy.

Potential Risks: A small proportion of women have an excessive response to the fertility drugs that are used to stimulate the ovaries. In rare cases this causes ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a potentially serious condition. Bleeding and infection are very rare complications of the egg retrieval procedure.

egg freezing

Egg freezing procedure

The eggs undergo a freezing procedure known as vitrification in our IVF laboratory. This process involves immersing each egg in a series of special fluid solutions to protect its cellular structure, followed by storage in freezing tanks of liquid nitrogen. Eggs may be stored for many years.

Freezing Eggs for the Future

The latest advice if you are planning to start a family one day and would like to freeze your eggs for future use. Presented by Dr Chandrika Parmar.

Who might benefit from egg freezing?

As women age they have fewer eggs and freezing therefore, becomes less beneficial as only a small number of eggs may be obtained in the cycle. For this reason, egg freezing for non-medical reasons is not usually recommended for women over the age of 38, unless blood tests indicate a very high ovarian reserve.

The expected success of the procedure can be ascertained from an initial assessment of the ovarian reserve, via an anti mullerian hormone (AMH) test and an ultrasound. The AMH test can provide an insight into the remaining quantity of eggs and number of fertile years a woman has remaining, although it does not provide information about the quality of the eggs.

Success rates for egg freezing

The chance of a live birth from frozen ‘vitrified’ eggs is similar to the chance from ‘fresh’ eggs which are usually used in IVF treatment. The two most important factors that determine the chance of having a baby from frozen eggs are your age when your eggs are frozen and the number of eggs that are stored. 

The number and quality of the eggs that develop when the ovaries are stimulated decline with increasing age. A woman in her early thirties might have 15-20 eggs available for freezing after the hormone stimulation, but for women in their late thirties and early forties the number is usually much lower. Also, as women age they are more likely to have eggs with chromosomal variations.

We would expect:

  • A stimulated cycle would result in the collection of 10-12 eggs (10-20 eggs in women younger than 35)
  • Approximately 85-90% of eggs would survive the freeze and thaw process

Once an egg survives the freeze and thaw process, we would expect it to behave like a fresh egg, offering:

  • Approximately 50-70% of eggs would fertilise
  • 30-40% develop onto day five (blastocyst embryos)
  • A single embryo would have a 25-40% chance of developing into a pregnancy depending on a woman’s age

The number of eggs available for freezing and their quality is important because in every step there is a risk that some are lost. Of the eggs that are retrieved, some may not be suitable for freezing, some may not survive the freezing and thawing processes, and some may not fertilise or develop into normal embryos. Of the embryos that are transferred, only some will result in a pregnancy, and some pregnancies miscarry.

The following graph, published in the journal Human Reproduction in 2017, estimates the probability of a live birth according to how many mature eggs a woman freezes at various ages. The graph shows:

  • A woman who freezes 10 eggs under the age of 35 has about a 70 per cent chance.
  • A woman who freezes 10 eggs at the age of 44 has about an 8 per cent chance of having a baby.
Success Rates of Egg Freezing graph
Egg freezing success rates for egg freezing

Your fertility specialist will discuss how many eggs they recommend you freeze depending on your individual circumstances.

The takeaway:

The woman’s age when her eggs are frozen has an important effect on the chance of pregnancy. The younger the woman, the better chance of producing more eggs to freeze. Egg freezing in women over the age of 38 years would be expected to have a lower chance of pregnancy.

Download an egg freezing brochure below.

VARTA - https://www.varta.org.au/information-support/fertility-and-infertility/fertility-preservation/egg-freezing-0 

Getting started

You need to be referred by your local GP or a medical practitioner to a Melbourne IVF fertility specialist for egg freezing.

Your Melbourne IVF fertility specialist will take a medical history, arrange any necessary investigations including blood tests and ultrasound assessment of the ovaries, as well as arrange a counselling referral if appropriate.

To book an appointment with a Melbourne IVF fertility specialist please call our Community Liaison Administrator on 1800 111 483 or fill in the form below.