When Should You Freeze Your Eggs?

If you are considering egg freezing, the optimal age to freeze eggs is before a woman reaches 35, though studies have shown that freezing before 30 provides the best chance to conceive. Unfortunately, women don’t start thinking about their fertile potential until much later than this.

"I'm not seeing the 30 and 31-year-olds who want to come in and preserve their fertility. I'm seeing the 39, 40, 41-year-olds, and so I think the message that's really important to get out is you're going to have the best likelihood of success if you freeze your eggs earlier," said Dr. Eve Feinberg, of the Fertility Centers of Illinois.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 women now have their first child after age 35. Yet, fertility also begins dropping around this same age. Egg quality begins to decrease, the risk of miscarriage increases, and so does the potential for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. Egg freezing before a woman reaches this critical age greatly diminishes the possibility of poor egg quality.

Out of 282 fertility clinics surveyed across the country in 2010, over half offer oocyte cryopreservation. 36% only make this option available only to cancer patients, while 67% offer it as an elective procedure. “Oocyte cryopreservation is offered in more than 50 percent of ART clinics in the United States,” wrote the researchers who conducted the survey. “These data suggest a growing acceptance for this technology within our field.”

Among the clinics who participated in the survey, 87% accepted patients ages 35 to 37 years into their egg freezing program, 49% consider women 38 to 40 years old as acceptable, and only 26% of programs would cryopreserve eggs beyond age 40 years. If you are considering egg freezing and are over the age of 35, remember to check with local clinics to determine what their age criteria is for this process.

August 27, 2013 Posted by Jenn Nixon

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