You鈥檝e probably been told your biological clock is ticking since the moment you graduated college. Maybe you鈥檙e not exactly in jeopardy of losing your fertile moment right now, but聽you never know when you might cross the threshold into needing to see a doctor for fertility testing. If you鈥檙e thinking about getting all science-fiction-y and freezing your eggs, check out a few facts that you might not know about the process.

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1. It kind of stops time. 鈥淎mazingly, if a woman uses eggs frozen from her younger self, her chances of getting pregnant with those eggs are very similar to the chance she鈥檇 have had using them at the time they were frozen many years earlier,鈥 says Kristen Mancinelli, Director of Partnership and Education at Extend Fertility. It鈥檚 not exactly breaking news that a woman鈥檚 fertility declines as she ages. Freezing your eggs is one way to beat (or at least slow down) that biological clock.

2. Age isn鈥檛 the only reason for freezing. Women have a variety of reasons for seeking egg freezing services. While plenty make the decision to freeze their eggs to preserve their fertility options, Kristen shares other examples:聽鈥淭hose who have experienced complications associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, which can be the result of untreated STIs. History of early menopause in one鈥檚 family. Certain cancer treatments. Certain surgeries. Other diseases of the reproductive organs, including endometriosis, which can damage those organs with scarring.鈥

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3. You鈥檒l learn how to give injections 鈥 to yourself.聽You鈥檙e not going to walk into the office, ask the doctor to take some eggs out and have the procedure all in one day. The retrieval process聽takes time. You鈥檒l need to help those eggs ripen and mature enough for harvesting. Kristen notes that women give themselves hormone injections during the 鈥渟timulation phase.鈥 But don鈥檛 stress too much about pain. Kristen explains, 鈥淭he needles are very thin and are injected into the fatty tissue around the belly, which the woman learns to do after careful instructions from the healthcare team.鈥

4. You鈥檙e asleep for egg retrieval. Sure, 鈥渞etrieval鈥 sounds scary. After all, a doctor is removing those teeny-tiny little eggs from your body. But it won鈥檛 hurt, because you鈥檒l be asleep for it! According to Kristen, the entire procedure takes 10-15 minutes and is done under anesthesia.

5. Eggs last a long time.聽鈥淪cientifically speaking, frozen eggs can be stored indefinitely,鈥 Kristen shares. 鈥淭here have been numerous healthy babies born from eggs frozen for five to 10 years, with the longest reported successful thaw coming after 14 years.鈥 If you鈥檙e not ready for pregnancy right now, you鈥檝e got some time to spare. There鈥檚 no need to rush the baby-making train just yet.

Happy pregnant woman talking to friends pushing baby strollers on sunny day

6. It鈥檚 smart to start young.聽There鈥檚 no magic egg-freezing age. But the younger you are, the better the quality of those eggs will be. 鈥淭he ideal age for egg freezing is younger than often assumed. What鈥檚 ideal? As soon as a woman is ready,鈥 Kristen tells us. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a good thing for women to think about as early as their mid-20s, as a proactive way to preserve their options for if 鈥 or when 鈥 they are ready to have children.鈥

7. You have options. You know you鈥檝e got years until you have to use those eggs. So you wait. Or not! What happens next is up to you. If you鈥檙e totally not ready to be a mama, keep them on ice. When the right partner comes along, you could聽head to the fertility specialist and make a baby together. And that鈥檚 not the only route to take. You can also use the eggs by yourself or with a genetic donation from someone other than your partner 鈥 all you need is聽sperm to combine them with. When it comes down to it, freezing your eggs can provide plenty of options for the whats, whens and hows of pregnancy.

Would you freeze your eggs? Tell us why (or why not) @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)