Want to delay pregnancy? Experts are advising women to freeze ovaries instead of eggs
We’ve all heard about women freezing their eggs in order to delay pregnancy, but experts are now advising women to freeze their ovaries instead. According to a recent study, more than one third of women who freeze their ovarian tissue go on to successfully have a baby.
The largest difference between egg freezing and ovarian tissue freezing is that the latter enables older women to turn back the clock; with ovarian tissue freezing, these women can reverse their menopause, and conceive naturally without fertility treatments of any sort. On the other hand, women who have their eggs frozen still have to go through in-vitro fertilization (IVF); on top of this, those who have experienced menopause require hormone replacement therapy to get pregnant with their own eggs.
This recent study, which was conducted by New York Medical College, examined all cases of ovarian tissue freezing which occurred between 1999 and October 2016. Through 309 freezing procedures, women gave birth to 84 children, and eight of them had more than one child after freezing their ovarian tissues. Almost two thirds of women successfully reversed their menopause or restored their reproductive function, and conceived naturally.
The exact procedure of ovarian issue freezing involves obtaining a small piece of ovarian tissue from an ovary, cutting it into small slices and freezing it. When the patient is ready to get pregnant, the ovarian tissue slices will be grafted back into her pelvis. It takes approximately nine months for this grafted ovarian tissue to start producing reproductive hormones, and develop follicles. In most cases, pregnancy is achieved with either ovarian stimulation or naturally; however, if IVF is required, this can be done as well.
As egg freezing in Singapore is only permitted for women with “medical needs” (for example, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and hence experiencing a decrease in fertility), many local women are increasingly heading overseas to Malaysia, Thailand and Australia to freeze their eggs. Whilst there are clinics in Australia which do offer ovarian tissue freezing as well, do note that this treatment is considered to be experimental and that side effects (if any) are unknown as of now. Further research is required before ovarian tissue freezing can be classified as routine clinical treatment.
Fertility consultation with BeNatural’s fertility coach, Marie Otsuka
If you and your partner would like to learn more about conceiving, come down for a 45-minute consultation with Marie Otsuka, BeNatural’s fertility coach. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!