22nd January 2013 | by MFC Team
Social egg freezing: The reasons some women freeze their eggs
In today’s social climate, there is a trend toward women waiting until their late 30s and early 40s to have children. This trend has been happening even though many women know that their fertility declines as they get older, and that it might be more difficult and take longer to get pregnant the longer they wait. Until recently, women who weren’t ready to have a child had very few options other than to wait and hope that if they couldn’t get pregnant when they were socially, emotionally, and personally ready, they might be able to turn to IVF to help them have a child. However, in the last 5 years medical science has advanced to the point that egg freezing – which until recently was considered an experimental procedure – is now a more realistic and viable option. As a consequence, more fertility clinics are offering the option of “social egg freezing” (fertility preservation for social/personal rather than medical reasons). So more women are turning to egg freezing when they are in their late 20s and early 30s, as a way of increasing their chances of having a child later, when they are ready. For those women who want to become mothers in the future, “social egg freezing” – although not a guarantee – provides some assurance that motherhood may someday be attainable.
There are many reasons why women wait to have children. The most common reasons include finishing their education, getting established in their careers, finding a partner with whom they feel they can parent, getting settled in their relationships, or pursuing other life goals such as travel. These are the same reasons why women consider freezing their eggs. An example is 32 year old “Priya” who recently decided to freeze her eggs because she is just getting established in her career and isn’t ready now to have children. According to Priya:
“Once in her life an independent girl has to face this dilemma of choosing between the two most important things to her– career or motherhood. I did not want to compromise one for the other. So while I am still working on my aspirations, I chose to have my eggs frozen.”
Since the quality of a woman’s eggs declines with age, it is recommended that women freeze their eggs before the age of 35. However, irrespective of the age of the eggs, freezing does not guarantee that a woman will be able to conceive a child when she is ready to have a family. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), implantation rates of cryopreserved (frozen) eggs range from 17 to 41%, and clinical pregnancy rates (per transfer) range from 36% to 61%. In addition, given the high costs of egg freezing and ongoing storage costs, this is not an affordable option for many women.
If you are considering freezing your eggs and want to know more about the pros and cons of this fertility preservation option, you should consult with a fertility specialist.
To read an article about this issue, click here.
To read the ASRM’s practice guidelines on oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing), click here.
To read more about fertility preservation, click here.