Although freezing embryos has a long history of success, freezing eggs is a more recent technological advance. The ability to freeze eggs gives women whose fertility may be compromised in the future an option to preserve their present fertility. Women who might consider egg freezing would be those who plan to defer the start of their family for career or other personal reasons.
Another group of women who might consider egg freezing would be those found to have cancer during their reproductive years. Often the cancer therapies are successful, but at a cost of depleting the number of eggs left in the ovary because of the chemotherapy or radiation therapy necessary to treat the cancer. Radiation to the pelvis can cause damage to the uterus.
The chance of diminished fertility or menopause after cancer treatment depends on age at the time of treatment, the type and dose of chemotherapy needed, and/or the location and strength of radiation used in treatment. A physician can give you more specific answers about your situation once your individual treatment plan is determined.
Eggs can be harvested and frozen before the cancer treatment begins, then used to start a family years after the cancer treatment has been completed and health status has been assured. The annual cost to store the eggs is $700, and the eggs can be stored indefinitely until used or discarded.