There is a national trend for women to delay childbearing until the later reproductive years. A woman’s age strongly influences whether or not she will be able to conceive and women who delay childbearing may face infertility when they decide to get pregnant. The chance of a woman not being able to get pregnant increases after the age of 35 years and by age 45 years up to 99% of women may be infertile. Elective egg freezing can allow women who wish to delay childbearing a means of avoiding infertility. This is because the ability of a woman to get pregnant is based on the “age” of the egg rather than the “age” of the uterus. This is also the reason that older women can become pregnant more easily using eggs donated from younger women. Elective egg freezing is an option for women 21 to 41 years of age who are not currently in a situation conducive to childbearing.
The ideal age for egg freezing is likely between the ages of 30 to 40 years. Women who are less than 20 years of age usually have a number of years before fertility starts to decline, although some women in their 20s may be candidates if they have a family history of early menopause or signs of premature ovarian insufficiency. Fertility starts to decline for women in their mid to late thirties; optimally women would elective to freeze their eggs by 38 years. For women aged 38-41 years, egg freezing can also be a reasonable option pending fertility testing which can be done by one of our doctors.
We know that not every egg that is frozen will go on to become a baby. When we do an egg harvesting procedure, some of the eggs obtained are not suitable for freezing or are unable to survive the freezing. To have a reasonable chance of a pregnancy in the future, we recommend that a woman freeze at least 15-20 eggs. This many eggs may be obtained in one treatment cycle for younger women. Older women may need 2 or 3 treatment cycles to obtain this number. This can be discussed further in consultation with one of our doctors.
If you are considering having your eggs frozen here are some things you should know: One treatment cycle takes approximately two weeks to complete. During your treatment you will take fertility medications that allow multiple eggs to mature. You will be monitored with serial ultrasounds and hormone levels to determine when your eggs are mature. During this time you may experience abdominal bloating. The eggs will then be retrieved through your vagina using an ultrasound guide. The egg retrieval is performed under light sedation so you will be asleep and comfortable. You can expect your period about two weeks after the egg retrieval.
In October 2012, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) declared that egg freezing is no longer considered an experimental treatment as implantation and pregnancy rates using frozen eggs are similar to pregnancy rates using fresh eggs.
To learn more about elective egg freezing schedule a consultation with one of our doctors. They will be able to answer all of your questions and you give you more information so that you can decide if egg freezing is an option for you.
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