How to Prepare for Egg Freezing

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    How to Prepare for Egg Freezing

    On Christmas Eve (2020, obviously), my egg freezing doctor called with bad news.

    “Your AMH levels are low,” she said. “Any lower and we might not recommend you proceed with egg freezing at all. We can move forward, but you should check your expectations for how many eggs we’ll get.”

    AMH—anti-mullerian hormone—is one marker of fertility. AMH and FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) indicate how well your ovaries are producing eggs. The more eggs you can produce, the higher your chances of retrieving lots of eggs from an egg freezing cycle, and the more eggs you retrieve, the higher your chances are that one of these eggs will result in a baby.

    “What can I do?” I asked her.

    “Evidence is inconclusive,” she said. “Happy holidays.”

    I sat stunned for a few minutes, then swung into distinctly un-festive action. Dozens of friends and friends-of-friends have frozen their eggs, so I reached out to them to ask for advice.

    And what I learned surprised me. Most of them had low AMH (aka diminished ovarian reserve) before using holistic interventions to raise their levels. Where my doctor’s best advice was to do multiple $15,000 retrievals—pushing what’s already a luxury “elective” medical procedure not covered by most insurers into the realm of stratospheric unaffordability—I would spend the next three months diving deep into interventions to boost AMH, maximize fertility, and ultimately retrieve double the eggs my doctor suggested we could hope for.

    I benefited from a whisper network of women who gave me invaluable advice, but it dismayed me to see how little public information exists for women in my situation. It did not, however, shock me. Western medicine is famously dismissive towards female reproductive health. There are far fewer resources devoted to female reproductive health than for men, researchers often fail to analyze trial data by sex, and serious reproductive conditions like endometriosis take an average of eight years to be diagnosed. We are not yet living in an illuminated age of female fertility, with a medical establishment that takes its complications seriously.

    But individual women do, and so do many individual providers of both Western and alternative medicine. I’ve compiled what I learned from them in the hopes it might be useful to any woman looking to boost her AMH, or who has been told for any other reason—like chemotherapy or age—that her shot at a successful cycle may be low. These practical steps are also useful for anyone looking to maximize their egg freezing cycles and fertility, whatever their numbers.

    Optimism

    The single most important decision I made was to approach these fertility interventions with an optimistic outlook. I knew the process could quickly veer towards feeling like a slog, or something to be bitter over. But I want my future children to live in a world of optimism, curiosity, and solutions, rather than one of defeatism and fear, and resolved to channel this future mother-self throughout.

    Published at Fri, 05 Nov 2021 14:00:00 +0000

    https://www.vogue.com/article/how-to-prepare-for-egg-freezing

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