You asked: If I freeze my eggs—which includes removing some eggs from my ovaries—does that reduce my ovarian reserve? Will it affect my natural fertility?

Dr. Maslow answers:

Short answer: no, egg freezing won’t lower your ovarian reserve and won’t decrease your chances of getting pregnancy naturally in the future.

To understand why, let’s quickly go over the ovulation process. During each menstrual cycle—typically each month—one egg makes it through the whole ovulatory process. The egg follicle (the sac that holds the immature egg) is activated, the egg grows and matures, and then it breaks free from the ovary and begins its journey down the fallopian tubes.

But in addition to the one egg that’s ovulated, a number of follicles are activated that don’t make it past the first stage. When the immature eggs inside those follicles don’t mature, they simply die off. This is called “atresia.”

Egg freezing makes use of some of those otherwise lost eggs. The hormone medication used during egg freezing prompts your ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs in a single cycle instead of the usual one, so you can freeze them for when—or if—you might need them later on.

So, the process of egg freezing doesn’t take anything away from your egg reserve, and won’t affect your chances of getting pregnant naturally in the future. What it will do is provide you with a backup option if you have difficulty conceiving naturally when you’re ready to start a family.