Freezing Embryos vs. Freezing Eggs

By Dr. Kalan on December 31, 2019


Cryopreservation for eggs, embryos, and spermAdvances in modern fertility treatments have allowed Dr. Marc Kalan and Dr. Nurit Winkler to help countless men and women throughout Encino, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles, CA suffering from infertility. Sometimes, though, patients who come to the practice are fertile but would prefer to wait to have children. In such instances, freezing embryos or freezing eggs may be ideal.

Let’s discuss fertility preservation in brief and then compare freezing eggs and freezing embryos. As you’re about to see, one option could be more preferable to you than the other.

When Is Fertility Preservation a Good Option?

There are numerous reasons why someone would want to consider fertility preservation, whether it’s freezing eggs or embryos. A woman may be uncertain about having children at the moment, and want to save the most viable eggs or embryos at an earlier age so they can start a family later on. Medical issues could mean the desire to preserve eggs or embryos should the condition or treatment result in infertility.

About Egg Freezing

Egg freezing involves the retrieval of viable eggs from a woman’s ovaries. Fertility drugs are used to promote the development of viable, healthy eggs for the process. The eggs are then frozen so they can be fertilized at a later date.

About Embryo Freezing

Embryo freezing involves the preservation of an embryo. That means the retrieved eggs are fertilized in a lab setting, either using a partner’s sperm or sperm from a donor. The embryo is then frozen for later use. Note the key difference is fertilization prior to cryopreservation.

How Frozen Eggs and Embryos Are Used

Generally, the frozen eggs are used for future IVF procedures. The eggs can be fertilized in a lab setting. Once the eggs divide and develop into embryos, they can be transferred to a woman’s uterus and carried to term. The woman who froze her eggs may wish to have a gestational carrier/surrogate carry the fertilized egg to term in some cases.

As for frozen embryos, they can be thawed and then summarily transferred to a woman’s uterus to implant and be carried to term. Similarly, a gestational carrier may be used to carry the thawed embryo to term.

Success Rates for Frozen Eggs vs. Frozen Embryos

The success rates for the use of frozen eggs and frozen embryos are comparable, though embryos can be more successful. This is because the egg has already successfully divided and developed into an embryo and is ready to implant. With a frozen egg, fertilization needs to be accomplished, adding an extra hurdle in the treatment process.

With this in mind, a frozen embryo means finding a partner or sperm donor to fertilize your eggs first. Some women may not have that option available and will instead opt to freeze their eggs.

Helping You Make a Good Decision Based on Your Needs

There’s no right or wrong option per se when it comes to fertility preservation. That said, freezing eggs may be more ideal for you than freezing embryos. We can discuss all of these topics in more detail during your visit to your practice.

Contact the Los Angeles Reproductive Center

If you would like more information about fertility preservation and whether or not it’s an ideal option for you, be sure to contact our board-certified fertility specialists. You can reach our team in Los Angeles and Encino by calling (818) 208-5481, in Thousand Oaks by calling (805) 427-2959, and in Bakersfield by calling (661) 889-5173.

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