Freezing My Eggs: Who is Egg Freezing For?
Women may consider egg freezing for a number of reasons, including health, educational, professional, and social factors. (To learn more about fertility preservation for cancer patients facing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, see this page.)
One fact that may be missing in the egg freezing discussion in the media, however, is that not every woman who is delaying starting a family needs egg freezing, nor does every woman need egg freezing at the same age or with the same urgency.
Whether and when to freeze eggs is a highly individual balancing act. At the Center of Human Reproduction, our physicians work with each woman to discuss her circumstances and help her understand her reproductive health, so that she can make an educated decision that is best for her.
Freezing Eggs to Combat Premature Ovarian Aging
Approximately 10% of women have a condition called premature ovarian aging, or POA. At any given time, a woman with POA has fewer eggs in her ovaries (lower ovarian reserve) than a woman without the condition. This means that, if possible, women with POA should freeze their eggs at a younger age than women with normally aging ovaries. For example, it may be more urgent for a 26-year-old woman with POA to freeze her eggs than for a 33-year-old woman with normal ovarian reserve.
Therefore, it is important to diagnose POA as early as possible. The first step for each patient considering egg freezing at CHR always includes an assessment of the risk that she will develop POA. If a young woman is at risk for POA, we can monitor her ovarian reserve so that she can adjust her timeline for egg freezing (or pregnancy).
Freezing Eggs at a Younger Age Increases Pregnancy Chances
In general, the younger a woman is when she freezes her eggs, the better her egg quality. This means that, should she choose to use her frozen eggs later on, she will have better chances of becoming pregnant with IVF. She also needs fewer eggs to freeze than someone freezing her eggs later in life.
For this reason, freezing eggs when a woman is in her twenties is preferred. While many women do freeze their eggs in their thirties, most experts recommend against egg freezing after ages 36-38. After age 38, our advice is usually to attempt pregnancy right away, rather than freezing eggs. However, circumstances vary, and the patient is always the ultimate decision-maker at CHR.
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Last Updated: February 13, 2018