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An Affordable Egg Freezing Program from a Fertility Center with Decades of Experience

CHR’s Medical Director Dr. Norbert Gleicher gives us a little insight into CHR’s new egg freezing program. Where you freeze your eggs matters! Manhattan-based CHR has 30+ years of experience in fertility care in New York City.

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It is a great pleasure being able to present to you once again our monthly video voice, the video format of our monthly newsletter. It is a particular pleasure because it is the holiday season and this gives me the opportunity to wish all of our friends, colleagues, patients, and anybody else who is following us or reading our monthly newsletter, a very happy and peaceful holiday season and hopefully, a very successful healthy and prosperous new year 2018. As we end this year, we are looking forward to the new year with a number of new programs, and I’m here today to talk to you particularly about a program that as of January 1 here at CHR will be radically revamped and this is our egg freezing program.

We here at CHR have had an egg freezing program for over a decade, but our egg freezing program really evolved as a medical program in the sense that the first time we started getting interested in offering egg freezing, It was really for exclusively medical reasons. In other words, mostly for young women who unfortunately were diagnosed with cancer, therefore, had to undergo chemo therapy or radiation therapy, which in almost all cases wipes out a woman’s ovarian function. And so egg freezing in these patients had a pure medical indication. It’s an attempt to save some eggs before those patients have to undergo chemotherapy.

In recent years, egg freezing however has developed into many other directions. Indeed, social egg freezing has become a very important aspect of that and by that we mean, egg freezing that women pursue because they’re simply not ready yet to have children and at the same time are concerned that by the time they will be ready to have a pregnancy their ovaries will be already “too old.” We here at CHR haven’t been very happy to say it bluntly with the way how this whole process has been developing, not only in this country, but elsewhere as well.

The reason is that the whole industry has grown up around this concept of freezing eggs. Egg freezing parties are being thrown by interested companies that have gotten into this business and seeing egg freezing as a business has been quite troubling to us. But the demand has been increasing and indeed in many IVF centers, not at CHR, egg freezing cycles have become a very big part, sometimes the biggest part, of their cycle activity indeed. Most remarkably, in the recent years some IVF centers were created or have specialized exclusively in the egg freezing cycles. In other words they do nothing else, but egg freezing.

We find that surprising we find that surprising because again coming from the concept that egg freezing is a medical procedure that needs to be done with the same kind of information that infertility patients provide and judged on and are medicated for, who go through IVF cycles to get pregnant. IVF cycles for egg freezing purposes are really not different, except that they are done very frequently in perfectly healthy and fertile women. But they too should receive the same kind of attention and with this whole egg freezing industry arising around us this is unfortunately not where this happening and over the last year or two, we here at CHR have become increasingly concerned about what we are seeing going on around us when it comes to egg freezing, particularly since we have seen an increasing number of patients who come to us after having had frozen their eggs, or good numbers of eggs, and once they went back tried to thaw them out they were devastated to find out that either very few, or sometimes even none, of those eggs that they had thought were their insurance for the future once thawed out survived.

So we are really troubled about some of those trends that are going on with egg freezing and with fertility preservation in young women and therefore, have over the last few months initiated a review of the subject which concluded that it was time for CHR to take this area more seriously and to compete more aggressively with some of those commercial enterprises that pursue egg freezing as a business rather than as a medical service.

And so as of January, CHR will be offering a brand new egg freezing service and unrelated to our medical egg freezing service, that will obviously continue for cancer patients and which we are very proud. In this new egg freezing service, we will offer the young women who want to freeze their eggs the same quality of medical service that our infertility patients are getting, the same quality of service that our cancer patients are getting, and the same level of attention. But we will do it in a more practical way, and this is what will make this program really unique and I think in many ways revolutionary and what we are offering patients is a highly economical package set up, where they will be able at relatively low prices to choose in advance how many cycles of egg freezing, if they wish to undergo in other words they wish to buy. And the reason for that is, that egg freezing is like everything in infertility obviously age-dependent. The younger a woman is, the fewer eggs the she need to freeze to have a high probability for at least one child, obviously if she wants two children or three children she has to freeze more. The older woman has the more she has to freeze, yet at the same time the fewer she produces per cycle and therefore, she may need more cycles.

And we have created and we invite you to go to our website to see that in more detail. We have created tables that explain what numbers of eggs at whatever ages a woman should try to cryopreserve in order to have a high probability of having at least one child. As I mentioned, this program will be very cost effective. Indeed, we think  it is probably the least expensive program currently offered in New York City. And in contrast to many of these other programs, it is a comprehensive IVF program. It is not only a program where your eggs are being retrieved and shipped out to a storage facility never to be heard of again. We will handle those eggs with the same attention to detail as in our clinical IVF patients who come to us to conceive because of fertility problems. More importantly we will make sure that every young woman who goes through this egg freezing process is properly worked up before she does that, so that we can choose like again in an infertility situation the best of ovarian stimulation protocol for them. We are very happy to be able to offer this new program, and we hope you will make use of it. Thank you.