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In a pioneering move challenging traditional norms, Indian women are increasingly embracing egg freezing, a process that allows them to preserve their fertility for future conception. The trend, largely driven by both social and medical reasons, is redefining the concept of motherhood and giving women more control over their reproductive choices.

One such trailblazer, Sneha (name withheld), a 37-year-old single woman, recently opted for egg freezing in a bid to break free from societal pressures and take charge of her life. “I just did not want to rush into marriage. To put off this pressure from my head, I opted for egg freezing,” she shared.

Indian Women Break Social Stigma, Opt for Egg Freezing to Redefine Motherhood Timeline

Experts in the field have noted a substantial rise in the number of women pursuing this option. Dr Fessy Louis T, Clinical Associate Professor at Amrita Fertility Centre, Amrita Hospital Kochi, revealed that the inquiries for egg freezing have surged by over 25% in the past year alone. The procedure, though emotionally and financially demanding, offers a viable solution for women facing various fertility challenges.

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However, the path to egg freezing is not without obstacles. Ruchi, a Gurugram-based life coach, faced a challenging journey after a health setback. Her experience highlights the significance of considering egg freezing early, given the unpredictability of life. Despite its empowering potential, societal stigma continues to pose a challenge, discouraging some women from openly discussing their choices.

While the process offers women a sense of agency, it comes with financial implications. Dr Namrata Seth, Senior Consultant at Amrita Hospital, Faridabad, pointed out that the cost of the procedure typically ranges from ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2 lakh. Furthermore, the physical toll cannot be overlooked, as the medications used for stimulation may result in side effects such as nausea and mood swings.

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Nevertheless, experts emphasize the positive impact of this trend, particularly for women battling medical conditions like cancer or those with a family history of early menopause. Dr Seth sees the increasing discourse around egg freezing as a promising step toward providing women with more options and control over their reproductive health.

As the societal landscape evolves, Indian women are stepping forward to challenge the status quo, redefining the narrative around motherhood and personal choice. With egg freezing, they are paving the way for a future where biological clocks no longer dictate their life choices.

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  1. What is egg freezing, and how does it work?

Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, is a process that involves extracting a woman’s eggs, freezing them, and storing them for future use. The procedure allows women to preserve their fertility, particularly if they anticipate challenges in conceiving later in life. It begins with a series of medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. These mature eggs are then retrieved through a minor surgical procedure and carefully frozen using specialized equipment and storage containers.

  1. Who is an ideal candidate for egg freezing, and what is the optimal age to consider this option?

The ideal candidate for egg freezing is typically a woman under the age of 35, as this age group tends to yield a higher number of healthy, mature follicles. Women facing medical conditions that might affect their fertility, those with a family history of early menopause, and individuals seeking to delay childbirth due to career aspirations can also benefit from this option.

  1. What are the success rates associated with egg freezing?

The success rates of egg freezing largely depend on the quality of the eggs frozen and the age of the woman at the time of the procedure. On average, around 90% of frozen eggs survive the thawing process, and approximately 70% successfully undergo fertilization. About 45% of these fertilized eggs may lead to a successful pregnancy. It is essential to note that success rates may vary based on individual circumstances and the specific techniques employed by different fertility centers.

  1. What are the costs associated with egg freezing, and what factors influence these costs?

The cost of egg freezing in India typically ranges from ₹1.5 lakh to ₹2 lakh, depending on various factors such as the choice of clinic, the experience of the fertility specialist, the age of the woman, and the number of eggs one intends to freeze. Additional expenses may include the cost of medications for ovarian stimulation and the fees for the IVF procedure if the frozen eggs are used for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

  1. What are the potential risks and side effects associated with egg freezing?

While egg freezing is generally considered a safe procedure, there are some risks and potential side effects to be aware of. The medications used to stimulate egg production may sometimes lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, characterized by ovarian swelling and discomfort. However, modern protocols and medications have significantly reduced the risk of this condition. Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, and mood swings, which are typically temporary and resolve after the procedure.

  1. Does egg freezing guarantee successful conception in the future?

While egg freezing can significantly improve the chances of successful conception in the future, it does not guarantee a successful pregnancy. The success of the procedure largely depends on the age and health of the woman at the time of egg retrieval and the quality of the frozen eggs. Additionally, various other factors, including the overall reproductive health of the individual and the success of the IVF process, may influence the final outcome.

  1. How long can frozen eggs be stored, and what happens after the storage period expires?

Eggs frozen through the process of oocyte cryopreservation can typically be stored for up to 10 years without compromising their quality. Once the storage period expires, individuals may choose to either use the frozen eggs for assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, or let go of the stored eggs. It is essential to consult with fertility specialists to discuss the available options and the best course of action based on individual circumstances and preferences.

  1. How does egg freezing empower women to take control of their reproductive choices?

Egg freezing offers women the opportunity to take control of their reproductive timelines, allowing them to prioritize other aspects of their lives, such as career and personal growth, without feeling the pressure of a ticking biological clock. By preserving their fertility, women can make informed decisions about when to start a family, thereby enabling greater autonomy over their life choices and providing a sense of security for their future family planning endeavors.

  1. How can one ensure the best possible outcome with egg freezing?

To optimize the chances of a successful outcome with egg freezing, it is crucial to consult with experienced fertility specialists and adhere to the prescribed treatment plan diligently. Following a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, can also contribute to better overall reproductive health. Additionally, maintaining open communication with healthcare providers and seeking emotional support throughout the process can help alleviate any concerns or anxieties associated with egg freezing and ensure a positive experience.

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