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16th Apr 2024

‘A gift to your future self’ — Everything you need to know about egg freezing

Jody Coffey

Let’s talk about fertility preservation

For those who live with health conditions such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome, fertility is likely a topic that has arisen in conversation.

For those who don’t contend with symptoms of these health conditions, the reality is that we likely won’t think too much about fertility unless we come up against difficulties if trying for a baby.

By this stage, if fertility does happen to come up in conversation, it’s usually in the form of options; In vitro, donors, surrogacy, and so on.

However, what if your plans for offspring are undecided or in the very far future?

One’s age, goals, relationship status, experiences, finances, and health can all factor into the decision-making process of welcoming a child.

Alongside these considerations, the female reproductive system is working on a strict biological clock, which, while incredible, can be pressuring if you’re not at the stage in your life where you want to become pregnant.

You may want to become a parent one day or you may choose to never become one — both outcomes are okay.

However, as the saying goes, ‘Knowledge is power’, and all options should be available and accessible where fertility is concerned.

One option, one often not spoken about, is fertility preservation in the form of egg freezing.

Egg freezing is a way to check and safeguard your fertility

As we age, the quality and quantity of the eggs in our ovaries begin to decline and, with it, our future chance of conceiving a baby.

As a 31-year-old woman with zero plans for a child anytime soon hearing that by the time I’m 37, over 90 percent of my eggs will be gone, was pressure I thought was still a few years away.

My interest was first piqued after seeing Waterstone Clinic’s MyFertilityCheck service offering Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) testing during the Future Beauty Show in March.

AMH testing is a blood test that’s often used to help plan treatment for female infertility as it reveals the quantity of one’s egg reserve, although not the quality.

It is harder to get pregnant the older we get because the number of eggs available to us in our ovaries declines, and their quality (their ability to produce a pregnancy) declines as well.

Learning this information is the first step in the egg-freezing process, one which Laura Hackett, a fertility specialist at Waterstone Clinic, says can give the gift of time.

“Egg freezing can press pause on this ageing process and take control of it. We can use this treatment to preserve the fertility we have,” she explains to

“Freezing eggs by age 35 will allow you to preserve younger and healthier eggs, which will protect your chances of having a family in the future, or they might make the difference when you go to have a second or third baby.

“Having frozen eggs can alleviate some of the pressure that surrounds important life choices, like finding a partner, pursuing a career, education or even whether or not to travel.”

Who should consider egg freezing?

Laura says that the topic of fertility is something that should be considered by everyone, regardless of their relationship status.

One in six couples struggle to conceive, making fertility issues ‘far more common’ than people realise, she says.

Male fertility issues are just as common as female fertility issues, but age is a limiting factor for female fertility  

“Fertility affects us all because it’s part of our health. All single parents and LGBT+ couples will need some fertility assistance to build their families,” she says.

“Fertility is affected hugely by age so while modern life means we’re meeting partners later and having families later, the biological realities of fertility remain the same.

“We often make plans for future families without knowing our fertility information so we’re planning and dreaming in the dark.”

However, there are fertility tests that can provide significant insights that can help in deciding family planning, should this be something a person wants.

“Some simple fertility tests can give you a wealth of information about your reproductive health and remove the mystery.  You might then choose to preserve your fertility through egg freezing and protect your future chances of having a baby,” Laura says.

What does the egg-freezing process look like?

While you might imagine it to be a lengthy and invasive process, Dr Orla Power reassures you that it is relatively ‘straightforward’.

The first step is taking hormone injections for 10-12 days to stimulate the ovaries to produce and mature multiple eggs.

The next step involves a ‘simple procedure’ with light sedation to collect these eggs from the ovaries.

The embryologists will prepare the retrieved eggs for freezing and then they are stored at a very low temperature in the laboratory.

All in all, the egg collection day is the only day you’ll need to take off work.

However, it is important to note that egg freezing may not be suitable for everybody — meeting with a fertility specialist will allow for an individualised assessment, and help to determine if this is right for you.

Egg freezing is also not a guarantee for pregnancy in the future.

Laura continues: “While it is not a guarantee, it gives reassurance that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of conceiving in the years ahead: it’s a gift to your future self.”

Some considerations to keep in mind

While Dr Orla describes the egg-freezing process itself as straightforward, she outlines some things to keep in mind if you’re considering it.

She urges them to do their research to ensure they choose the right clinic for their egg-freezing treatment.

“They’re not all the same! The best method for egg freezing is called ‘open vitrification’ as it leads to better success rates, but not every clinic can do this. Waterstone Clinic was the first clinic in Ireland to be licensed for this technique,” she explains.

She also says they should consider the success rates and survival rates of eggs at various clinics.

“Do the clinics you’re exploring have experience of thawing frozen eggs? Have they had successful pregnancies from them?” Dr Orla questions.

Laura notes that Waterstone Clinic has a wealth of experience with frozen eggs, particularly through our donor egg programme.

She adds: “We are incredibly proud of our success rates: over 90 per cent of frozen eggs survive the thawing process with our team.” 

The cost of egg freezing 

Another element to consider is the financial one.

The cost of egg freezing at Waterstone Clinic is €2,950 and medications are covered under the DPS programme. Following treatment, storage of the eggs is €25 per month.

Laura adds, “Fertility is so important to talk about. Having a fertility check is affordable and it will give you information so you can make decisions. Your fertility is worth investing in, so you can look back with absolutely no regrets.”

For more information, you can visit the Waterstone Clinic website