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    What are the differences between freezing eggs vs. embryos?

    Updated 19 January 2023 |
    Published 08 December 2018
    Fact Checked
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Allison K. Rodgers, Reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist, obstetrician, and gynecologist, Fertility Centers of Illinois, Illinois, US
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    More people than ever before are thinking about preserving their fertility for the future. But what’s the difference between freezing eggs vs. embryos, and which is the best option for you? We asked an expert.

    If you’ve ever considered freezing your eggs or embryos for future family planning, then you’re not alone. It’s estimated that around one-third of all fertility treatments and procedures that took place in the US in 2019 were for patients who wanted to do just that. 

    The two procedures have given women and people who have periods more choice around when they have children and how they will conceive. But they’re also quite different (more on that below), and there’s a lot to consider, especially with the costs involved.  

    Here, Dr. Barbara Levy, Flo board member and clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, outlines exactly what happens when you choose to freeze your eggs vs. embryos and some of the questions you should consider asking your health care provider before you start treatment. 

    Freezing eggs vs. embryos: What’s the difference?

    The process of choosing between freezing eggs or embryos can appear pretty confusing. However, there’s one big difference between the treatments. 

    When you freeze your eggs, they are unfertilized. We all know that when you’re trying to conceive, an egg represents 50% of the material required to make a baby — the sperm provides the other 50%. “An egg is not even a full cell — it’s a gamete,” says Dr. Levy. A gamete is the name given to the reproductive or sex cells (like an egg or sperm). 

    “It can’t function on its own,” says Dr. Levy. “It has half the number of chromosomes needed to make a baby. The sperm provides the other half.”

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