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profile picture of Jackie Gutmann, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia
Jackie Gutmann, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia
Fertility Specialist

Embryo Freezing?

What is embryo freezing? When should I consider it?

It’s been more than 20 years since embryo cryopreservation, as it’s sometimes known, became a buzzword in the world of reproductive medicine. Today embryo freezing is one of the most common components of IVF. As long as you’re undergoing the treatment, which involves having a number of eggs harvested after taking fertility drugs, some doctors feel you might as well take the extra eggs, fertilize them and preserve them through cryo (very cold) storage. Embryos can be frozen anywhere from a single-cell stage to blastocyst stage (5 to 7 days after fertilization).

The choice of freezing your eggs or embryos depends on a few different factors, from your age to your health. If you’re in your early 30s, don’t have a partner, and are looking to preserve your fertility, it may make more sense to simply freeze your eggs before they’re fertilized, until you’re more ready to decide on a potential sperm source (read: baby daddy). If you’re already undergoing IVF and have extra embryos that have not been transferred, and you’re potentially looking to add a sibling down the road, it may make sense to put some embryos on ice for future family planning. Or you may be years away from starting a family but facing a treatment like chemotherapy that might limit your ability to conceive naturally in the future. Ultimately, the choice comes down to you (and your partner, if you have one) and your current and future needs and wants.
Plus, more from The Bump:

Weird Fertility Terms Decoded

How Much Fertility Treatments Cost

Trouble Trying to Conceive