Who should consider egg freezing?
While science has yet to figure out how to stop a woman’s biological clock from ticking, it’s found the next best thing—egg freezing. Egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) is a form of fertility preservation in which a woman’s eggs are extracted from her ovaries, frozen and stored. With more and more women postponing having children until their 30s and even early 40s for various reasons, egg freezing allows women to extend their childbearing years by preserving their younger, healthier eggs during their peak fertility years. The team of board-certified reproductive endocrinologists at Nashville Fertility Center has extensive experience in oocyte cryopreservation and makes it one of their goals to educate women on the facts about their fertility and to offer options such as elective egg freezing.
The ideal age for egg freezing
A ticking biological clock is the primary reason women choose to freeze their eggs. A woman’s fertility peaks during her 20s and starts to decline once she reaches 30. In fact, by the time a healthy, fertile woman reaches age 30, her chances of conceiving each month she tries is 20%. Once she reaches her 40th birthday, that percentage plummets to 5%. Women who are waiting to be in a committed relationship before having a baby, who are establishing their career, studying for an advanced degree or experiencing some other life event that makes extending their childbearing years necessary can turn to egg freezing as their fertility safety net.
Women who are at risk of premature ovarian failure (the loss of ovarian function before the age of 40) due to a family history of early menopause, can also benefit from egg freezing.
When is the best time to freeze eggs?
Egg freezing has the highest chance of success when performed at an early age, preferably before the age of 34, and no later than 37. Younger eggs are typically healthier and withstand the freezing and thawing process better than older eggs.
Is it successful?
Advances in cryopreservation methods in recent years, has resulted in improved egg survival and pregnancy rates. Our Nashville fertility clinic freezes eggs using the vitrification technique, an ultra-rapid cooling method that uses high concentrations of a cryoprotectant. Due to the high water content of eggs, this rapid cooling prevents damaging ice crystals to form that often lead to cellular damage and the degeneration of the eggs. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) found that 92.5% of vitrified eggs survived thawing and when compared to vitrified versus fresh eggs, there were no significant differences in fertilization rates (74% vitrified vs. 73% fresh), implantation rates (40% vs. 41%), and pregnancy rates per transfer (55.4% vs. 55.6%).