Joanna Krupa of “Real Housewives of Miami” fame (shown in June) has announced that she is freezing her eggs. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Model and “Real Housewives of Miami” star Joanna Krupa recently penned a piece for People magazine entitled: Why I’m Freezing My Eggs.
Krupa, who is 35, explained in People that because she and husband Romain Zago aren’t ready to be parents just yet, she’s going through the freezing process as a “security blanket.”
That comment got me to wondering if freezing one’s eggs was a surefire solution to infertility in the future.
Not exactly, according to Dr. Mary Ellen Pavone, reproductive endocrinologist at Northwestern Fertility and Reproductive Medicine.
Dr. Mary Ellen Pavone
“Well, it’s an option as long as women understand it is not a guarantee of a baby in the future,” said Pavone, who is also an assistant professor in obstetrics and gynecology-reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
With each fertilized egg there is a 10 percent chance of it resulting in a baby, according to Pavone. The age of the woman is a factor as well. The older the female, the less probability of success. “The younger the better,” Pavone said during a telephone interview.
Still, that being said, any young woman considering the procedure has to think about the costs involved. The procedure itself is between $4,000 and $5,000; the medications involved can cost between $2,000 and $7,000, according to Pavone. Oh, and the procedure usually is not covered by insurance. That’s a lot of money to spend at 25 when a few years later there’s always a chance a woman will find a partner who she will want to have a child with after all.
The process takes about two weeks, during which the woman has daily hormone shots and is monitored on how well she is doing through blood tests and ultrasounds. This requires about five to seven visits to one’s doctor, according to Pavone. The eggs are then retrieved through a needle procedure done under anesthesia. Afterward there may be bloating and abdominal tenderness.
But here’s the thing: the doctors can tell whether the eggs are mature or not at that stage, period.
“That’s really all you can tell until you try and fertilize” the eggs, Pavone said. So until you try to fertilize the eggs there is no guarantee the eggs are viable and will be able to produce a baby.
So for any woman considering this, keep in mind freezing eggs is costly and not the guaranteed answer to future infertility. Pavone recommended that women discuss the procedure and its pluses and minuses with their physicians and “really only embark on it once they understand the risks and benefits.”