Why choose egg freezing in the first place?
A woman may decide to freeze eggs for 2 reasons. If there is a medical concern, for instance, chemotherapy, egg freezing allows for pregnancy later. Secondly, more and more women are choosing egg freezing for social reasons. Some just aren’t ready for kids or may get married at a later age. If starting a family is still in the cards, getting pregnant naturally is increasingly difficult. Freezing allows career pursuits and other time commitments while still having younger eggs.
Age and egg quantity
So what’s the big deal with age and egg freezing? Eggs, known as oocytes, are essentially a single cell. If a clinic needs to thaw these eggs for in vitro fertilization, a lot can happen during the process. The more eggs the clinic has to work with, the better the chances of acquiring high-quality eggs to create embryos. By age 37, 90% of a woman’s eggs are lost. Freezing eggs at an earlier age, 35 and below, means that the clinic can extract more eggs per cycle.
Egg quality matters too
The ovaries will also produce higher quality eggs at younger ages. From age 25 and below, 75% of eggs are free from chromosomal abnormalities. By age 35, 50% are considered healthy, but only 10% by age 40. Egg freezing at an earlier age reduces the chances of miscarriages, failed IVF cycles, and congenital disabilities.
Is it too late to freeze your eggs?
Yes, there is a better yield from women 35 and younger. However, that does not rule out older women completely. Studies show that age 37 is the ideal time for egg freezing. Women with frozen eggs at this age are twice as likely to get pregnant than those with none. From 37 and above, the clinic will have to extract as many eggs as possible. Women over 40 will need well over 20 eggs for just a 50% chance of success. To guarantee success, the clinic will need to extract significantly more. Keep this in mind when deciding on egg freezing as part of family planning.
When it’s just too late
Technically, there is no time limit on egg freezing. Most clinics will try to work with the patient. However, some clinics prefer to stop egg freezing at particular ages, especially over 42. There will be too few quality eggs at this point. To get those quality eggs, the clinic may need to do several cycles. Excess cycles can be costly, stressful, and even dangerous to health. Even then, the IVF success rate can be as low as 5.7%. At this point, the option with the best outcomes would be donor eggs or gestational surrogacy.
Get the proper guidance on your egg freezing journey
The success of egg freezing is intertwined with age. However, the window may not be closed just yet. Women over the age of 35 can still freeze one cycle of eggs and see future success. Women over 40 may need multiple cycles as both quantity and quality decrease at this stage. The best bet would be to speak with a reproductive specialist or fertility clinic. These clinics work with cases that are linked to age and can provide the best egg freezing solutions available.