EGG FREEZING FOR FERTILITY PRESERVATION
Recently there has been several media reports with attention being given to the concept of egg freezing for young people to preserve their fertility for the future. However, there are some specific items that one needs to discuss with their doctor, such as, the pros and cons, associated costs, etc., and how to most cost efficiently address this situation.
I think the real message that should be given to individuals is that all young women in the mid to late 20s should get a “fertility checkup.” This includes a simple blood test that includes anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), and an ultrasound examination (antral follicle count) with a discussion with a physician to understand the resulting indicator of current and future fertility. This assessment is so simple, easy and inexpensive that it makes sense for all patients in order to understand their current biological time with respect to their current and future fertility as well as what this means for future childbearing. We can identify young women who are at risk for depleting their supply of eggs prematurely. That is, their biologic clock is ticking faster than expected. Identifying these people at a young age is critical for them so that they understand that they may benefit from things like egg freezing. Other patients who have “time” are not going to benefit from egg freezing so much.
It is critical that women understand these things.
For example, recently, I have seen a young patient in her late twenties that had abnormal results with both the blood and ultrasound evaluations suggesting she currently has diminished ovarian reserve. She clearly benefits from egg freezing for future fertility because by age 35 it would be expected that she would be essentially menopausal. These cases are important. Without the simple assessment and discussion individuals such as this individual will never know their potential fertility crisis. It is my opinion that one shouldn’t be necessarily requesting to a physician to get egg freezing, it is that they should be requesting the physician to have the simple assessment and discussion completed. That is the key importance and the message that should be undertaken in the media. Get the simple blood test and discuss with a qualified, experienced reproductive specialist what the interpretation of the results is. Any physician can obtain the blood test and ultrasound, that is simple. The discussion is what is critical.
Sincerely and regards,
Peter Ahlering, M.D.