23/11/2017 7:39 AM AEDT | Updated 23/11/2017 7:46 AM AEDT

Australia's First Dedicated Egg Freezing Clinic Opens In Sydney

And the cost of the service has been radically reduced.

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Not an insurance policy, but still a viable option.

When it comes to fertility, you can't fight the facts. A woman's egg supply starts to deteriorate after she turns 30, and takes an even sharper turn after 35.

But there are many Australian women who don't feel they are ready to start a family at that age, or perhaps there have been circumstances which have forced them to put their baby-making plans on hold.

It's a situation that is becoming increasingly common across the nation and, as such, more and more women are electing to freeze their eggs. In fact, according to the private data of leading fertility specialist Genea Australia, there has been a five-fold increase in patients wishing to freeze eggs in the past three years.

As a result, the organisation has today opened the doors to Genea Horizon, Australia's first dedicated egg freezing clinic.

Dr Devora Lieberman, Genea Horizon fertility specialist, said the decision to open the Sydney-based clinic came about not only from increased demand, but an understanding that women who choose to freeze their eggs require different care to those women and couples undergoing IVF treatment.

She also said the ability to do everything in-house has helped reduce treatment costs.

"We have been freezing eggs through our regular IVF clinics for some time now, but we have discovered women who are coming to freeze their eggs are quite different than people coming to have a baby right now," Lieberman told HuffPost Australia.

"They have different needs and different desires, and certainly don't need to be in the same place as the women who are trying to get pregnant now.

What is egg freezing?

Egg freezing, otherwise known as 'oocyte cryopreservation', is a process by which a woman's eggs are extracted, frozen and stored to preserve reproductive potential.

"We think they need different messages, different attention, and we have been able to carve out space in our building where we can look out for people on that journey.

"As part of that, we have been able to dramatically reduce the cost. Economies of scale and the ability to do everything in-house, plus very streamlined protocols, have seen us able to do that."

And the cost is important, because for many women, it's can be the final barrier that prevents them from seeking treatment. In fact, in recognition of this issue, Monash IVF fertility clinic also chose to slash their prices in October last year.

"I would discuss egg freezing with my patients and, while they thought it might be a good thing to do, when I told them it cost $10,000, they changed their minds," Monash IVF clinical director Dr Lynn Burmeister told The Herald Sun at the time.

"Most women, aged 33-34, can't afford it and the cost turns them off. As a female, I just thought it was too expensive and it doesn't need to cost that much."

It is not an insurance policy about having a baby in the future, it's about not having any regrets.

Lieberman concurred, telling HuffPost Australia, "In terms of the stimulation protocols we run, there's very, very few medical risks. It's just about the money really.

"And now we can offer the [service] at the price of the cost of a holiday, really. The cost of an overseas holiday as opposed to a small car. We are trying to make it more accessible. For me, really, it has always come down to the cost."

As for whether egg freezing is right for you, it obviously depends on the situation, but Lieberman warns against thinking of the process as a type of insurance.

"It is not an insurance policy about having a baby in the future, it's about not having any regrets," she said.

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Certain career choices may result in a woman wanting to have children later in life.

"If you come back in five years time and use your eggs and they don't work, you'll feel 'at least I did everything I could'. Though if you're more inclined to think 'well that was a waste of time and money', then it's probably not for you.

"A lot of our messaging isn't about having a baby in the future, it's about taking control of your life now.

"Just thinking about some of the women I have worked with, one is 35 and her seven-year relationship just fell apart. Another woman is 32 and a barrister, and is going to be head down bum up working on her career for the next couple of years.

"Women end up in unexpected situations and that's what this [elected] service is for."

To find out more about the process of egg freezing, head here.


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