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Welcome to our guide to egg freezing: digestible, comprehensive and medically reviewed. Whether you’re brand new to fertility treatment or a pro already, this guide is for you to better understand the ins and outs of egg freezing.
Dr. Salim
Reviewed by Dr. Rehan Salim
Medical Director at Lister Fertility
Consultant gynaecologist and expert in reproductive medicine
A few quick facts
Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have — typically about 1 million!1 
Egg freezing stopped being considered an “experimental procedure” in 20132
Eggs can be stored for decades3
hands of a woman, a woman taking a pill - collage stylea woman taking a bill and a couple holding hands

What is egg freezing?

Egg freezing is a method of fertility preservation that allows people the possibility of using their own eggs to become a parent later in life.

How does egg freezing work?

After a consultation with a fertility doctor, expect to go through a few weeks of hormonal injections to stimulate the ovaries and produce multiple egg follicles. A doctor will monitor the follicles’ growth regularly. When the time is right, the doctor will prescribe a different hormonal medication to mature and release the eggs. The final step in egg collection is to be sedated for a procedure where the doctor collects as many mature eggs as possible.4

The eggs collected are frozen and stored, sometimes for years. When it’s time to use them, they’ll be thawed and fertilised with sperm from a partner or a donor (read our page on ICSI for more details on how the best sperm is selected). Healthy embryos can be transferred to a woman’s womb, and after a few weeks, a pregnancy test will show if it’s successfully implanted in the uterine wall.

How long can you freeze your eggs for?

You can store your eggs for up to 55 years! You’ll need to renew your consent to store them every 10 years.5 Many clinics charge a yearly storage fee.

Note: it’s important to provide your most up to date contact information with your clinic so that they can contact you with consent forms. If they can’t reach you to ensure you want to keep your eggs frozen, they may dispose of them.

How much does it cost to freeze your eggs?

In total, from collection to embryo transfer, it costs between £7,000-8,000 in the UK.6 Here’s how that breaks down:

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Medication:
£500-1,500

IVF Treatment process

Egg collection and freezing:
£3,350

IVF Treatment process

Yearly cost for storage:
£250 per year

IVF Treatment process

Thawing, fertilisation and embryo transfer:
£4,500

Common questions about egg freezing

Your fertility doctor will be able to answer your specific questions about your unique treatment plan, but there are a handful of questions that nearly every patient asks:

What should you eat when freezing your eggs?
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There’s no particular diet or meal plan to follow that will suit everyone. Your doctor will likely recommend specific foods and supplements that have worked well for others under their care. That said, here are a few guidelines:

  • Omega 3 heavy foods, like salmon, trout, or even chia seeds and walnuts, can be good choices. Your doctor might also recommend that you take supplements like Vitamin D, CoQ10 for egg quality, Inositol, zinc, and antioxidants to improve the chances of retrieving good quality eggs.12
What are the risks of egg freezing?
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There’s a rare but possible risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which can be dangerous and require medical attention. Women who freeze eggs in their early 20s are at a higher risk for OHSS because of their larger egg supply and the potential to stimulate more follicles.11

People freezing eggs are limited to doing light physical activity during treatment to prevent the unlikely, but dangerous, risk of ovarian torsion, which can require surgery.

Aside from personal medical risks, there’s always a risk that some eggs won’t fertilise with sperm or may not survive thawing. The more eggs embryologists have to work with, the better chances of success.

What happens when you want to use your frozen eggs?
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You’ll contact your clinic and let them know you’re ready to use them. They’ll thaw the eggs and fertilise them with sperm to create embryos. Your doctor will prescribe medication to help your body accept any healthy embryos, and when the time is right, you’ll go through a short embryo transfer procedure to insert an embryo into the womb.9 After a few weeks, you’ll take a pregnancy test, and if it’s positive, you’ll carry the pregnancy to term. If it’s not positive, you can try again with your remaining embryos.

What happens if you decide not to use your eggs?
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You can contact your clinic to understand your options. Generally, though, you can donate your eggs to research, donate them to another couple, or discard them, depending on your preferences.10

When should you freeze your eggs?
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While conventional advice is “the sooner, the better,” like in your 20s or early 30s, the reality is that for many people, it may not be affordable until later in life. According to the HFEA, if you freeze eggs before age 35, using the frozen eggs in treatment later will give you a higher chance of success compared to using fresh eggs, especially if you are over the age of 40.8 We learn more about fertility science every year, and success rates are improving over time.

Why do people freeze their eggs?
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Some people want to have the option to become a parent later, but feel like they haven’t met a suitable partner yet. Others have medical conditions that limit their fertility and want to be able to use their own eggs with a surrogate. Trans men who plan to medically transition may want to preserve their eggs before beginning hormones or having surgery. Some young people want to preserve their best quality eggs at a young age to use later in life.7

How many times do people usually freeze eggs?
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It’s a personal decision that’s up to each person. Your fertility doctor can give advice that considers your age, goals, and financial ability to go through multiple rounds of egg freezing. 

Am I eligible for egg freezing?

Each clinic has its own eligibility criteria, so it’s worth having a consultation with a local clinic to understand whether you’re a good candidate to freeze eggs. Quick plug: we have an interest-free egg freezing finance plan with London Women’s Clinic. 

Is egg freezing suitable for me?

Egg freezing is suitable for people looking to preserve their fertility to build their family in the future. Read our guides for other treatments that could be suitable for you: 

Still have questions about egg freezing?

If you have any other questions about IVF we haven’t answered, DM us on Instagram or join our community group.

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