Should I go through more than one egg freezing cycle?

This is a question we frequently get during our free Ovally consults, so we decided to lay out different considerations in more detail. If you’re asking yourself this question, you’re already a step ahead: You know that it typically takes more than one egg to hopefully have a baby with the help of fertility treatment, and that you might need more than one treatment cycle to collect enough eggs to be more comfortable with your chances of being able to take advantage of them to have a baby later on.

In the earlier days of egg freezing many women weren’t told that each egg may only have a 5-10% chance of becoming a baby (which decreases with age as egg quality goes down), and that 15-19 eggs seem to provide the highest likelihood of a live birth without increasing the risk of overstimulation. At Ovally it’s important to us that you have all the information you need to make treatment decisions and avoid possible disappointment later on. We hope the below helps you think through whether it may make sense to undergo more than one treatment cycle, and what the decision process could look like:

Should I do more than one treatment cycle? What to consider: 

How many kids would I like to have? One important consideration is the number of kids you’d like to have in the future. If you’re hoping to use your frozen eggs to conceive more than one baby in the future, you’re more likely to need more than one treatment cycle to collect enough high-quality eggs.

How old will I be when I freeze my eggs? With both the number and quality of eggs declining gradually over time, you’ll need to collect more eggs the older you are to make up for a higher percentage of those eggs typically not being viable.

What do my fertility tests say? Before going through any fertility treatment, you’ll complete a number of pre-tests that’ll give both you and your doctor more information about the state of your fertility and your likelihood of responding well to treatment. Though it’s not possible to predict exact outcomes, the results of those tests will give you a sense of whether you might respond less or particularly well to treatment, and what your ‘ovarian reserve’ looks like.

What is my budget? With costs of $13-$17k in the US for an egg freezing cycle that includes medications, this is a major consideration, and may determine whether and when you’re able to undergo more than one cycle. That’s one of the many reasons we started Ovally – spending only ~$4.5k on treatment and meds (and less on a subsequent cycle) at a top European clinic may allow you to undergo more than one cycle.

When do I make the decision on one vs. several treatment cycles? 

The good news is that you have a lot of flexibility in making this decision. Some women – who know they’d like to use their eggs to conceive several children, who’re in their late 30s or older, or who know based on their pre-tests that they’re less likely to respond well to fertility treatment, – decide in advance that they’d like to do more than one treatment cycle. Others make the decision as they go through or complete their first treatment cycle to see how they feel during the treatment, and how many eggs they’re able to collect.

It’s possible to do treatment cycles back-to-back, or to leave time in between. When doing them back-to-back, it’s important to monitor hormone levels and make sure you’re in a good place to re-start and weren’t overstimulated. Studies indicate that the interval between treatment cycles doesn’t seem to affect results.

How would I go about doing a second cycle with Ovally?

If you’re thinking about completing more than one treatment cycle with Ovally, you have several options: You could do back-to-back cycles at your European clinic and stay for about 4.5 weeks, or you could return at a later time for another cycle. Doing another treatment cycle increases your chances of having a baby later and tends to have other positives as well:

  • Doctors typically gain helpful information from your first treatment cycle and often make adjustments to your protocol to try and improve your outcomes (e.g., change medications, adjust dosages)
  • Some of our partner clinics charge less for a subsequent cycle
  • All of our partner clinics charge for storage only once, i.e., your eggs from a subsequent cycle would simply be combined with the previous cycle’s eggs without incremental storage fees
  • You may be able to re-use some leftover medication from your previous cycle
  • We don’t charge for Ovally’s support for a subsequent cycle
  • If you choose to return for a subsequent treatment cycle (instead of doing it back-to-back), you can pick up your medication at the end of the previous cycle and start the the new cycle at home, shortening your time abroad for the subsequent cycle

We’re here to help you think through your particular considerations of one vs. several treatment cycles with Ovally. We always address the topic during our post-retrieval debrief with you, when we look at your specific chances of having one or several babies later on given the number of eggs you collected. As always, this decision should also be a central topic with your reproductive endocrinologist in order to think through all medical factors.

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