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Egg freezing vs. embryo banking: What’s right for me?

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With more women today choosing to further their education, pursue careers and embark on other life experiences prior to parenthood, fertility preservation is becoming an increasingly popular option for those of childbearing age. We see the term “egg freezing” surface often, with high-profile women electing to undergo treatments and technological advancements making the procedure more obtainable now than ever before.

While egg freezing is a wonderful option for women of all backgrounds and circumstances, you may not realize there are also other procedures available for preserving your fertility. Embryo banking, or embryo freezing, is another path that allows a woman and her partner (or donor) to form embryos with oocytes and sperm that will then be frozen for future implantation.

How are embryo banking and egg freezing different?

Egg freezing is an elective procedure that involves the retrieval of your unfertilized eggs, or oocytes, that will be frozen and stored for later use. Before eventual implantation in the uterus, the oocytes will need to be fertilized by sperm to form an embryo. Embryo banking is a similar process to egg freezing, but the retrieved oocytes are fertilized with sperm to form embryos prior to storage at a facility. When the embryos are later thawed, they will already contain the DNA of your partner or donor and will be ready for implantation.

Who is a good candidate for embryo banking?

If you and your partner know you eventually want to become parents but the timing just isn’t quite right, embryo banking may be the most efficient procedure. Why is this the case? Typically, the number of embryos you need to retrieve and store for a successful pregnancy is about half that of the number of eggs, or oocytes, you would need to preserve. Research indicates it takes between 12 and 22 oocytes retrieved to have one successful implantation. For embryos, as few as six stored for future use could result in pregnancy.

When is egg freezing the best choice?

While embryo banking may be the right choice for some, egg freezing is an empowering tool for women in their late 20s to mid-30s who may still be looking for the right partner with whom to raise children. Egg freezing allows women, who are either single or in relationships, more control of their parenting journey. When choosing this route, you do not need to wait for the right partner or donor to preserve your fertility and plan for your future.

Choosing a provider

For both procedures, age and the overall health of your ovarian reserve are the main factors for success. However, it’s also important to choose an experienced provider you trust for all components of the processfrom the procedure, to storage, to future implantation, pregnancy and beyond.

Northwell Health Fertility’s new Manhattan facility, due to open later this year, will feature state-of-the-art storage, as well as technologies that will allow embryos to be visually monitored 24 hours a day. More advanced computer software will help to determine the best quality embryos for implantation, to achieve the highest success rates possible.

We understand that your time is valuable, and every second spent planning your parenthood journey is critical. At Northwell Health, you can rest assured knowing whichever path you take to pregnancy, you will have the highest quality of care and a holistic approach to wellness that will help you to achieve your desired goalmotherhood.

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