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So, you have decided to get your eggs frozen. Perhaps it is due to not meeting your partner in crime yet, maybe you have a medical condition that is impacting your fertility, perhaps you would like to freeze them while you are young, or something other reason.

But what next? Should you prepare your body before-hand? boost your fertility? support egg quality? How can you increase the chances of a successful egg retrieval (the amount of eggs that they collect)?

Let’s discuss what you should do before egg freezing, why it’s important and the benefits

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michelle Cooke, Perior & hormone Naturopath, Natural Fertility Educator & Naturopathic Emotional Release Practitioner. I’m the Founder and Director of Reproductive Wellness, a clinic located in Melbourne. I see patients online and face-to-face.

 

What is involved in egg freezing?

Otherwise known as EFT or Elective Fertility Preservation is when unfertilised eggs are removed from your ovaries and put on ice and stored to use for a later date. When you are ready to use them they will ‘defrost’ your egg and then attempt fertilisation with sperm using IVF, once fertilised this is then implanted into your uterine lining.

To do this you have to go through the initial IVF process. They will start with giving you synthetic hormones & medications over about 10-12 days to stimulate growth and development of your follicles, make you ovulate and produce multiple mature eggs in one cycle.

Then it is time for egg pick up / egg collection when then the eggs are collected from your ovaries. A tube is inserted into the vagina which contains a fine needle that goes through the vaginal wall into each ovary to collect your eggs. Generally, the procedure it done under light anaesthetic, or you are given some sort of sedative.

Once the eggs are collected they are frozen quickly, a process that removes all fluid from your eggs to prevent any crystal formation. The eggs are then stored for a number of years until you are ready to use them. They are cryogenically frozen like Mr Bigglesworth & Dr Evil.

The process from start to finish (hormone stimulation to egg collection / pick up is approximately 14 days). So kind of replicating your follicular phase from day 1 of your period to ovulation that is about the same time frame.

The important thing to remember about egg freezing

  1. Your age; when you reach 35 years old your egg quality starts to decline. The younger you are when you would like to collect them the better.

  2. Getting your eggs collected and used at a later time to be fertilised by sperm is not a guarantee that it will be a successful fertilisation, viable embryo, implantation takes place & a viable pregnancy. Doing IVF doesn’t guarantee success. You are simply putting those key things together, the egg and the sperm without any consideration of quality & health of those. If an egg and / or sperm is of poor quality and poor health this can lead to an unsuccessful IVF cycle.

You need to consider, what is my nursery environment like for my eggs? What is it like for them growing up in there? Do you drink alcohol excessively throughout the week? Do you smoke cigarettes, marijuana or vape? What kind of things are you eating to support good quality eggs? Do you eat junk food? Does your diet include a lot of high sugar foods? What kind of toxins are in your home? Do you use things like bleach to clean but at the detriment of your own health & fertility? Do you look after your vaginal health?

Eggs or oocytes need particular fundamental things to be able to develop, mature & be in tip top shape (quality wise). They are the house to your future baby’s DNA. This contains precious genetic material that determines their characteristics / what they will look like e.g. brown hair, blue eyes etc. If this is damaged it risks your baby’s mental & physical health and can increase the risk of disease either in childhood or adulthood.

Your ovaries & eggs need adequate nutrients from your diet and in some cases in the form of nutritional medicine supplements to correct deficiencies because diet alone sometimes won’t correct them. Our soils are deficient in quite a few minerals and also there is a lot more processing involved to our food these days. Food is made to last longer but it can deplete the mineral and vitamin content.

A healthy good quality egg or oocyte will mean that you have a healthy embryo which will mean a better chance that the embryo will implant in the uterus resulting in a successful pregnancy establishment. Did you know that you do 120 days prior to conception (fertilisation) determines whether conception, successful implantation & pregnancy will arise?

Success rates of egg freezing

The success of your eggs becoming a baby is largely dependent upon the quality of your eggs, your age when they were collected & the number of cycles you can afford.

For an 80% chance of having a baby and you are 35 years or younger, you would need 14 eggs collected. If you are 37, you would need 24 eggs. And if you are 38 years old, you would need 27 eggs collected.

From each hormone stimulation in Victoria the average is:

35 or younger: 13 eggs

35-39 years: 10 eggs

This is from the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) website: VARTA 2021

 

What should I do prior to egg freezing?

You should prepare the body to be as fertile as it can be making sure that the nursery your eggs are growing up in is giving them what they need, supporting their health & quality, increasing the chances of a successful egg yield and to help improve your chances of conception when you decide to use them down the track.

The best way to do this, is through preconception health care. This type of treatment is done prior to conception (i.e. pre-conception) or in your case it would be prior to doing the IVF process to get your eggs collected to freeze them. We want your eggs to be the prized eggs like the golden goose eggs from Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory. More like a lindt chocolate not a Cadbury.

What is preconception health care?

It is a specific treatment plan that takes place in the pre-conception period (before conception) used to boost your fertility, improve egg quality, improve your response to IVF and increase your chances of having a baby.

The main focus is optimising egg quality, function, maturation & development and therefore a healthy embryo to assist with improving fertility & your ability to conceive:

 

*Removing toxins within the home

*Addressing nutrient deficiencies

*Sorting out hormone imbalance – it is still important to have healthy hormones when you have to go through IVF because if your hormones are too high or low before you get started they will cancel your IVF procedure.

*Making sure you are eating & drinking the right things and avoiding things that aren’t good for fertility

*Addressing health conditions issues that are impacting your ability to conceive

*Improving the chances of getting a good egg yield from your egg collection

 

If you improve general health of course that will support healthy reproductive health as well. The health of your eggs are reflective of the nursery they are growing up in (i.e. your body).

Treatment is a minimum of 120 days prior to getting IVF done to get your eggs frozen. The time frame is following biology because it takes 120 days for an egg to mature and develop. Furthermore, if you have a hormone imbalance this takes at least 3 cycles to correct and if you have a nutritional deficiency, like vitamin D for instance this takes 120 days for a red blood cell to be replete. The body does things in its’ own time, and you simply can’t rush nature.

The Foresight Association, which is an association based in the UK that has 35 years’ experience in preconception health care. They have done several studies using preconception health care. They assisted couples using diet & lifestyle advice along with addressing nutritional deficiencies with nutritional medicine used as support.

Why do preconception health care?

It makes sense to do preconception health care because of the modern-day exposures that we have now which our grandparent’s didn’t have. Things such as:

 

  • Pollution

  • Herbicides, pesticides & fungicides from farming

  • Poor nutrients found in our soils which impacts the fresh produce mineral and vitamin content

  • Polluted water

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Poor eating habits

  • Poor food choices

  • Stress

  • Radiation impacts, EMFs (Electromagnetic frequencies) from screens (TVs, mobile phones, laptops, tablets etc.)

e.g. scrolling before bedtime can impact your melatonin production which not only impacts your ability to fall asleep and have good quality sleep. But also melatonin is an antioxidant that protects your eggs and supports egg quality so stopping the scroll 1-2 hours before bedtime is recommended.

  • Heavy metal exposure

All this impacts egg quality, your ability to conceive & for a viable pregnancy to occur.

 

The benefits of doing preconception health care

Preconception health care will improve:

 

-Egg Quality & health

-Number of eggs collected because you respond better to the medication

-Endometrial lining

-Hormone balance

-Successful fertilisation, implantation & pregnancy establishment

Preconception health care not only improves the chances of conception & pregnancy establishment. But the benefits extend to a healthy pregnancy, birth, breast feeding experience & baby to be. You can actually impact 3 generations of health! Imagine!

Your growing baby relies on your nutritional status for growth & development so you need to be topped up nutritionally before conception otherwise you and the baby will suffer as a result.

It reduces the risk of:

  • Miscarriage

  • Still birth

  • Small for date babies

  • Malformations / birth defects

 

Can a Naturopath help with preparing for egg freezing?

Absolutely! Especially a Naturopath that specialises in periods & hormones which is what I do.

In my clinical practice I use herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, diet & lifestyle advice, teach you how to chart your cycle correctly in order to be able to see the length of your follicular & luteal phase (that shows you if your hormones are balanced). I look at your test results differently to a GP because I look at optimum levels within the test range to make sure you are within that range for fertility, egg health & quality.

I also use Naturopathic Emotional Release which helps to identify underlying emotions / stress or sabotages relating to fertility. This tool uses Muscle testing & Chinese meridian points to identify the emotion & Chinese meridian points & EFT to clear & process the underlying emotion. It taps into the Autonomic Nervous System and works on subconscious beliefs.

I would love to help you, go ahead and book a FREE 15 min discovery call to find out more about how we would work together and if we are a good fit. Click the button below:

Thank you so much for watching. If you have any questions or comments please pop them in the comments box below