Dr. Ghadir is a reproductive endocrinologist & infertility specialist in Southern California. I have had the pleasure of meeting him a few times, most recently for his episode of The Skinny Confidential HIM & HER podcast.
Be sure to listen because he talks all about conception issues, success rates & just everything you could ever want to know about reproduction. But today I wanted to dive deeper because this is such an important subject to discuss.
In this post you’ll learn all about IVF, in-vitro fertilization & egg freezing. Dr. Ghadir is a father, husband, entrepreneur & podcaster ( The Fertile Life ) who works with all kinds of celebs, influencers & the LGBTQ community.
With that, let’s hear from Dr. Ghadir.
Everything You Need To Know About Egg Freezing & IVF
♡ Introduce yourself & give us your background when it comes to fertility.
Dr. Shahin Ghadir: My name is Dr. Shahin Ghadir & I am a reproductive endocrinology & infertility specialist with Southern California Reproductive Center. I’m double board-certified in obstetrics & gynecology & also infertility. I graduated from my fellowship program from a joint program between Cedar Sinai Medical Center & UCLA medical center.
♡ Who is a candidate for freezing their eggs? What are the pros & cons?
SG: Anyone who has the smallest tiniest desire to be a parent in the future should be considering egg freezing. We recommend patient to do this as young as possible & in the 20s is a perfect time to do so. But since many women have not realized the importance of this we begin to really push it’s importance for any woman who is now 30 years old.
The pros of freezing your eggs is that if you are unable to get pregnant at a later age you will have access to your own eggs & not need to use donor eggs if needed. The downsides of doing it are unfortunately the cost. And there’s also a two week process that involves injections. But in the long run that is a true benefit & not really a downside.
♡ What’s the difference between egg freezing, embryo freezing & IVF?
SG: The difference between egg freezing & embryo freezing & IVF is rather straightforward. During egg freezing, once the eggs are removed from the female, all the mature eggs are immediately frozen for use down the line.
When we are doing embryo freezing, the egg & the sperm are introduced together & make what’s called an embryo. And then this gives the potential for fertilization & growing the embryo until the full grown stage which is called a blastocyst. Then at that point the embryo can be genetically tested to make sure that it is chromosomally normal.
The word IVF means in vitro fertilization & actually in vitro means ‘outside of the body’ plus fertilization. This is when we fertilize the egg & sperm outside of the body.
♡ Walk us through exactly what it is like for someone to freeze their eggs.
SG: The process of egg freezing involves the patient calling the office on the first day of their period & coming in over the next few days for ultrasound & blood tests & starting a birth control to stop their natural ovulatory cycle.
Then the patient is transitioned into 10 to 12 days of daily self-administered tiny injections with about 4 to 5 visits to the clinic to do a blood test, & an ultrasound to assess & see how the eggs are growing. The final stage is performed in the surgical center where a light anesthetic is given & with a 3 to 5 Minute procedure the eggs are retrieved vaginally with a special ultrasound & a needle at the tip. All the mature eggs will be frozen at that time.
♡ Walk us through exactly what it’s like for someone to go through IVF.
SG: The process of embryo freezing involves the patient calling the clinic on the first day of their period & coming in the next couple of days to do blood work & a vaginal ultrasound.
At that time most of our patients are started on the birth control pill in order to stop their natural ovulation for approximately 1 to 2 weeks & then they transition into daily self administered injections that go into the belly with extremely small needles.
The injections last for approximately 10 to 12 days & there are generally about 4 to 5 visits to the office for blood tests & an ultrasound to assess how the patient’s eggs are growing. Once they have reached a certain size the patient will be taken to the surgical center & under a very light anesthetic they’ll undergo a 3 to 5 minute procedure which involves placing a special needle through the ovary & the eggs are then retrieved. At that point the egg & sperm will be introduced to each other in the embryology lab & placed in an incubator for approximately one week for growth & then potentially genetic testing.
♡ You’re a huge advocate of the gay community having babies which is so amazing. It’s gay pride month so I’d love for you to speak on that.
SG: The LGBTQ community is a large part of our practice & we have gone out of our way to set up an entire division which is called the third-party division.
This division involves coordinators that help people find their egg donors & their surrogates. And also their sperm donors if needed. They coordinate all the moving parts & allow many of our amazing same sex parents to start beautiful families.
♡ You’ve worked with all kinds of people including celebrities, influencers & the everyday woman. What are some ‘wins’ that have happened in your career that you can tell us about?
SG: My career has had a lot of amazing moments & a lot of amazing families that I’ve helped. I think one of the biggest wins for me has been the openness that my patients have had on social media & in the press. And just in general talking to other people & taking the stigma away from infertility. And teaching others who struggle with this that their goals are achievable.
♡ What is the typical outcome for a woman who is 35+ when they decide to freeze their eggs.
SG: A woman who is 35 years or older who has decided to freeze their eggs has a success rate that is truly dependent on the quality of her eggs. We have had patients up to the age of 44 freeze eggs & have beautiful babies, but unfortunately for some other patients that are even younger than that, we’ve had cycles with no success. I have to say the majority of patients, do incredibly well.
♡ Should you freeze your eggs if you conceive naturally & then want to have more children?
SG: Even if you have had a child & desire more kids in the future the thought about freezing eggs should not be ignored. If you are in a relationship & have sperm available it is most recommended to make embryos which is the sperm & eggs together. However, if you are single & already have a child & may want to have more children in the future, then the idea of egg freezing should be definitely considered.
♡ How has the technology changed in the last 5 years when it comes to this process?
SG: The technology in the world of infertility treatments has continuously improved over the last five years. The level of accuracy of genetic testing on embryos has increased. And success rates are still very very high.
We currently have an embryoscope incubator that allows 1000 pictures a day to be taken of embryos that are growing & gives us significant feedback about the well-being of the embryo, along with a genetic testing results.
♡ Once you have embryos, what does the process look like from there when you’re ready to become pregnant?
SG: Once a patient has frozen embryos in our office & they decide to come back & use the embryos, they will start the process called a frozen embryo transfer.
FET generally starts by calling our office with the start of the menstrual cycle & coming in for a blood test & ultrasound & starting a birth control in order to stop the natural ovulation cycle. Next, about 9 to 12 days of estrogen pills are given to build up the lining of the uterus & once the lining is at a certain thickness then progesterone vaginal suppositories & a progesterone shot that goes into the butt are started.
The actual FET takes a couple of minutes. And there is absolutely no anesthesia involved. The patient can go home & relax around the house for the next two days. And then 10 days later we know if they are pregnant.
♡ What’s something taboo about your industry that you wish people knew more about?
SG: There are many taboos about the world of fertility. However some of the most important ones involve patients thinking that we are going to remove all the eggs they have on their body & don’t realize that we are only taking some of the eggs that were going to die off that month during the ovulation process anyway.
People always think that they will go into an earlier menopause because we are removing a couple handfuls of eggs & that is completely not true. Additionally, people sometimes think that this process takes six months or can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars which is also not true.
♡ Where can we find you & how can someone book a consultation with you? What does the process look like?
SG: Patients can book a consultation by calling Southern California Reproductive Center at 3-10-277-2393 & following the prompts to make an appointment with Dr. Ghadir.
Or they can go to our website which is www.SCRCIVF.com & request the appointment on line.
+ scope this post all about balancing hormones & fertility.
++ check out the 10 things I loved about pregnancy.