Egg-freezing for social reasons is something more and more women are considering, either because they wish to concentrate on careers or simply haven’t met the right partner to have a family with.
But what’s the right age to freeze your eggs? Scientists in the USA are urging women not to delay freezing eggs because too many women are only considering it when their chances of pregnancy success from their frozen eggs may already be too low.
Egg freezing gives you the chance to freeze your eggs at the optimum time, before their quality starts to decline as you age. But too many women are waiting until their late 30s, and as fertility declines sharply from age 35 onwards, by then the egg quality may have been affected, making it more difficult to conceive.
In the USA study, women who had their eggs frozen for social reasons were typically aged 37 to 39, but they found that women were more likely to conceive if their eggs were frozen when they were under 30. In women aged under 30, the implantation rate of an embryo created from frozen eggs that had undergone vitrification – or ‘flash-freezing’ – was almost 19 per cent. But in women aged over 40, the rate dropped to just over 10 per cent.
What’s important to remember however is that pregnancy success using frozen eggs depends on a number of factors, not only including your age but also how well your eggs survive the freeze-thaw process. But this research does highlight the need for women to be more aware of how their age affects their fertility.
Because no matter what the method, whether you’re using your own frozen egg or a donated egg, if the age of the woman is younger at the time of egg retrieval then the chances of pregnancy success are higher, simply because egg quality hasn’t declined as much as it would if she was older. It’s why all egg donors, and women who wish to join our egg-sharing programme to receive subsidised IVF, need to be aged 35 and under.
If you’re interested in egg-freezing, visit our treatments section to find out more.