Do’s and Don’ts During Egg Freezing

14 min
Updated May 30th, 2024

Table of contents

Thanks to advances in reproductive technology, the ability to plan when to start a family is more accessible than ever with breakthroughs, such as egg freezing, a procedure that helps empower women to preserve their fertility for the future. Here, we look into what egg freezing involves and the important dos and don’ts to consider during the process. 

What is egg freezing?

Egg freezing is a medical procedure that helps preserve a woman’s fertility by storing her eggs for later use, giving the opportunity for pregnancy at a future date. The process involves hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. These eggs are then harvested through a minor surgical procedure when the eggs are mature. This part of the procedure is very similar to the first part of an IVF cycle. After harvesting, to preserve the eggs they must be cooled to ultra-low temperatures and stored in liquid nitrogen. When required, the eggs are thawed to be used in a cycle of fertility treatment, usually IVF.  It is important to remember that, unlike an insurance policy, although using frozen eggs increases the chances of pregnancy in an older woman, there is no guarantee that the treatment will be successful. 

Why freeze your eggs?

Egg freezing is a choice for many, influenced by personal circumstances, age, or medical conditions like cancer. As egg quality declines with age, egg freezing offers a way to preserve the possibility of conception, potentially extending reproductive capability beyond the natural fertility window. Fertility can be related to the age of the egg; for example, the egg of a 25-year-old will be much more likely to fertilise, implant and be less likely to miscarry than that of a 39-year-old woman. One of the main reasons women freeze their eggs is to try to benefit from eggs that are frozen during their younger, more fertile years.

The practice of women electing to freeze their eggs, termed “social egg-freezing” or “egg banking,” has seen a notable surge in popularity in recent times. This approach is often pursued by women who have not yet found a suitable partner to start a family with. 

What are the key do’s and don’ts during the egg freezing process? 

Bearing in mind it takes about three months for an egg to develop within a small follicle in the ovary, it makes sense to try to create the best environment within the body for this to happen. It may be helpful to focus on optimising reproductive health through physical and mental wellbeing. Here are some guidelines to consider:

The Do’s

Do consider egg freezing as early as possible

The younger your eggs, the better the chances of success, if and when you use them. If you are considering freezing your eggs, better to do it sooner rather than later. Eggs frozen in your late twenties or early thirties are more likely to be successful than eggs frozen in your late thirties.

Do stick to a healthy and balanced diet

Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is essential for enhancing egg quality before undergoing the egg freezing process. Nutrition plays an important role in influencing the quality of eggs, with studies showing a clear connection between diet and fertility. A balanced diet rich in leafy greens, whole grains, lean protein and lots of fruit and vegetables can potentially improve the outcomes of egg freezing. Avoiding fizzy drinks, refined sugar, and processed meats is also advisable. 

Read more about our recommended fertility diet plan in our blog. The Mediterranean diet, or MedD is relatively low in animal foods and includes tomatoes, olive oil, sunflower seeds, fish and walnuts. 

Studies have associated MedD with favourable changes in insulin resistance, metabolic disturbances, and the risk of obesity, which is crucial in the context of fertility.

Do maintain a healthy weight

Keeping a healthy weight is crucial for those considering egg freezing, as Body mass index (BMI) is looked at as a requirement for eligibility when it comes to egg freezing. A BMI within the ‘normal’ range not only lowers risks during the hormone medication stage and the egg retrieval procedure but also ensures the ovaries are easily visible on ultrasound scans for monitoring, facilitating accurate progress checks. 

Research has established a correlation between increased BMI and lower oocyte yield, mature eggs, and blastocyst development. Alongside this, obesity introduces additional risks during the procedure, notably with anaesthesia-related complications and can negatively impact the overall success of egg retrieval.

Studies reveal that women with higher BMIs experience a reduced response to hormone treatments, with overweight individuals retrieving fewer eggs per cycle compared to those of a normal weight. 

The connection between BMI, obesity, and fertility is well-documented, indicating that obese women face a three times higher risk of infertility than their non-obese counterparts. This inverse relationship between fertility and BMI underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, not just for the success of the egg freezing process, but also for the patient’s overall health and to minimise potential complications. 

Do consider appropriate fertility supplements to improve egg quality 

When considering egg freezing, the quality of the egg is paramount as it significantly affects the potential success of future fertility treatments. To improve egg quality, integrating specific female fertility supplements into your regime is advisable. Key supplements, including folic acid, and vitamin D should be started in anticipation of egg freezing and continued for optimal results.

Impryl supports egg quality and overall reproductive health. It is formulated with research-supported nutrients that support your body’s metabolic balance, creating an ideal environment for egg development and offering protection against DNA damage, helping to ensure that the highest quality eggs are produced. Avoid taking several different multivitamins, which can actually cause some problems. 

Do avoid stress and stay positive

Egg freezing is a strategy to avoid problems with fertility later on, and whilst you’re not suffering from sub-fertility, it is a complex and intense process with moments of uncertainty, fear and anticipation. The process can feel overwhelming so it’s important to be aware of your mental wellbeing throughout. Side effects from the hormone injections and other medications involved can also be a factor, so accessing the appropriate support for your egg freezing cycle is important. 

Egg freezing is usually a procedure undertaken without the support of a partner, which can exacerbate feelings of stress, especially when facing the possibility of multiple cycles. Financial stress and social pressure can all play a part in the emotional strain of fertility treatment. Data supports the notion that stress and reproduction are interrelated, with higher stress levels associated with a longer time to pregnancy and an increased risk of infertility. Prioritising the management of your stress levels can have a positive impact on your egg freezing procedure, but simple solutions like talking therapy, support of friends and family and mindful lifestyle changes can help you through this time. Read more about infertility and mental health in our blog. 

Do plan ahead for appointments and time off work

The egg freezing process can be time-consuming, with a series of appointments involved, set to a specific timetable. Plan ahead and ensure you have time off of work so there are no conflicts. Generally, it will include two weeks on self-administered fertility medication, with monitoring appointments needed to know when you’re ready for the egg retrieval process. When it comes to the egg retrieval procedure you should ensure you have support on the day and time to rest and recover. 

Do get plenty of sleep each night

Getting plenty of sleep is really important when you’re planning to freeze your eggs. Just like how not getting enough sleep can throw off your mood and energy, it can also impact your eggs. Not sleeping well can interfere with your body’s hormones, making it harder for your eggs to be in the best shape for preservation.

Research shows that not getting enough sleep can lead to lower levels of fertility hormones and higher stress hormone levels. Good sleep, on the other hand, can actually boost your chances of success by keeping your hormones balanced and your eggs healthy.

Creating a calming bedtime routine and weaving in practices such as meditation and yoga can make a big difference. Also, keeping your room dark and cool, and avoiding too much screen time before bed can encourage your body to produce more melatonin, a hormone that not only helps you sleep but is also good for your eggs. 

The Don’ts

Don’t leave it too late  

As the benefit of egg-freezing is to use younger eggs later in your life, it is less likely to be successful to freeze your eggs when you’re 40 years old, as the quality and/or viability of such eggs may well already be suboptimal. If you do choose to freeze eggs at this age, you should be aware of a higher potential of an unsuccessful outcome.

Don’t smoke during the egg freezing process

When planning for egg freezing, it’s crucial to think about your lifestyle choices, such as smoking. Research highlights how smoking can significantly decrease your chances of fertility by affecting the quality of your eggs. This is especially important when you’re looking to preserve your eggs for the future. Studies, including those from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, show that smoking and being around certain environmental toxins can create conditions that are not ideal for preserving healthy eggs. 

Studies have found that the risk of infertility increases by over 41% for smokers compared to non-smokers. There are resources available, like those from the NHS, to help quit smoking. Moving away from smoking and reducing exposure to toxins are key steps in preparing for a successful egg freezing process and ensuring your future fertility. Check out our blog to learn more about the connection between smoking and fertility.  

Don’t consume too much caffeine 

Cutting down on caffeine is a smart move when preparing to freeze your eggs. Although studies on caffeine’s impact on fertility and egg freezing success give mixed results, high levels of caffeine intake have been linked to lower fertility rates and could potentially affect the outcome of fertility treatments.

The NHS suggest keeping caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day, equivalent to about two cups of coffee when going through fertility treatment. This guideline is not just for coffee but includes tea and other caffeinated beverages.

Research also suggests that consuming caffeine might lead to less favourable pregnancy outcomes and could increase the risk of miscarriage. By starting to reduce your caffeine consumption early, you’re not only minimising potential risks but also adopting a healthier habit that could benefit your egg quality for egg freezing. Making the switch to lower-caffeine or caffeine-free options can also be a beneficial step in preparing your body. 

Don’t drink alcohol

Not drinking alcohol is a key consideration when preparing to freeze your eggs. Drinking alcohol, especially in large amounts, can negatively affect your reproductive health and may impact the quality of your eggs. Research highlights a clear link between alcohol consumption and challenges in fertility, indicating that even moderate drinking can affect your chances of a successful egg freezing process. Consuming just a few alcoholic drinks per week has been linked to lower rates of success in fertility treatments, which suggests similar precautions should be taken when planning for egg freezing.

To give your eggs the best chance of being healthy and viable for future use, it’s advisable to limit or eliminate alcohol from your diet well in advance of your egg freezing procedure. Doing so can help ensure your body is in the best possible condition for freezing and preserving your eggs. For more insights into how alcohol affects fertility, check out our guide on drinking when trying to conceive

Don’t partake in high-impact exercise 

Specifically, when it comes to egg freezing, during the hormone injection stage of the egg freezing process, the follicles in the ovaries are stimulated to produce more mature eggs, dramatically increasing in size. This can leave them at risk of ovarian torsion (twisting), which can be painful and detrimental to long-term fertility. While rare, it is thought that some high-impact exercises such as jumps, running, kickboxing, and excessive pelvic movement can lead to ovarian torsion, which is a potentially dangerous condition, where the ovary twists on itself, potentially affecting the blood supply. It is suggested, therefore, to avoid these types of exercise during the injection stage and a week or two following egg retrieval. Exercise can be modified e.g. swapping a run for a low-impact walk or swim session. Always listen to your body and avoid overexerting yourself, staying in your comfort zone with safe activities while going through fertility treatment. 

Don’t take new medications without checking with your doctor

During egg freezing, there will be a variety of fertility medications required to help your follicles grow in your ovaries, stop eggs from being released prematurely, and give a final trigger growth boost. These come in the form of self-administered injections, and your doctor will advise what is required and when. With these different injections and medications involved with the process and the potential side effects that come with them, it’s important to avoid taking any new medications without checking with your doctor, as they could have a detrimental effect, or interfere with the process.

Egg freezing offers a remarkable opportunity to preserve fertility, and by understanding and adhering to the dos and don’ts of egg freezing, you can optimise your chances of a successful procedure. With careful planning and consideration, including scientifically proven supplements such as Impryl, egg freezing can be a viable option for those looking to extend their fertility potential into the future. 


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