A decade ago, uttering the words “egg freezing” or “assisted reproduction” out loud in India, was no less than a taboo. The social stigma that surrounded cryopreservation of egg cells for future use still exists, however, assisted reproduction techniques (ARTs) are gradually gaining more acceptance, owing to the changing societal expectations and the work done by embryologists and ART specialists in the country.
Despite the fact that we have enhanced our longevity, menopause still remains pretty constant – just like the fact that, as a woman ages, she produces fewer eggs, and even less healthy eggs. The primary cause of some of the most serious birth defects, as well as miscarriages occurring after the age of 40, are related to egg quality. Reports have also revealed that miscarriage rates can soar as high as 90% in women over 40.
With more women putting their careers high on priority, there is a surge in the number of women opting to freeze their eggs. Goral Gandhi says, “A woman’s biological clock ticks with age. It is a well-known fact. Trying for parenthood at a later age might result in difficulty during the process of conceiving and complications during birth.”
“In some cases, late pregnancy can even result in various abnormalities in the baby, along with increased chances of the child being born with Down syndrome. Oocyte cryopreservation, which is more commonly known as egg-freezing, is a great way to preserve the fertility of a woman. This empowers them by providing a choice to have their own biological child with sperm from a partner, or from a donor, whenever they desire to,” adds Dr Goral Gandhi.
ARTs like In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and oocyte cryopreservation, despite being different in their approach, aim for the same result. In IVF, the eggs and sperms are cultured in a laboratory to create an embryo. The developed embryos are then injected back into the uterus in order to facilitate the process of conception.
On the other hand, egg-freezing is an effective way of delaying motherhood. In order to achieve better results, it is preferred that a woman freezes her eggs while she is aged 32 to 36 years. While there is no upper age limit, studies reveal that the results of egg-freezing are best until the age of 38.
The presence of expert embryologists like Goral Gandhi in the country has facilitated the delayed motherhood for women. The right technology, combined with the medical skills of embryology and IVF specialists, has transformed assisted reproduction and late pregnancy from a far-fetched dream into a viable prospect.
Goral Gandhi, a pioneer of Egg Freezing technology in the country, says that eggs are extremely fragile and a very stringent adherence to the correct protocol is of paramount importance to the success of the process. Having trained over 300 embryologists across the globe in the technique of egg freezing, Goral Gandhi feels that the most important person in an egg freezing cycle, apart from the patient herself, is the embryologist.
Women who have a family history of premature ovarian failure or early menopause, can benefit the most from this procedure. In case of other reasons such as elective freezing, the intent to delay conceiving a baby may vary from finding a suitable partner, advancing age, a failed marriage, focus on a career, etc. Whatever may be the reason, assisted reproduction is empowering women to live their life the way they choose to, and start a family at a time that’s best suited to them.