Understanding egg freezing
An oversimplified definition of egg freezing is placing the follicles on ice for future use. To complete the process, the woman must first take hormone medication over 10 days to stimulate ovulation. From there, the patient visits a reproductive endocrinologist, who extracts the mature eggs using a small catheter. The eggs are prepared in a sucrose solution then quickly frozen in liquid nitrogen. At a later date, the eggs can be thawed for in vitro fertilization or IVF.
Why choose egg freezing?
Some women choose egg freezing due to a medical reason that can cause infertility. A typical example can be women undergoing chemotherapy, which can affect egg quality. Today, most do so for social reasons like pursuing career goals. Others may start relationships at a later age and fear having issues conceiving. Whatever the reason, the decision to freeze eggs must happen as early as possible.
Why age matters with egg freezing
From birth, women have a set number of follicles in the ovaries that produce eggs. This is called the ovarian reserve. These eggs are continually lost throughout life by menstruation up until the age of menopause. The egg quality and quantity are higher during the teens, 20s, and early 30s. From age 37, most women will have a diminished ovarian reserve. While doctors cannot determine the exact number of follicles, the quality and quantity of eggs produced drop significantly at this point. So freezing eggs at a younger age increases the chances of higher quality eggs.
The best age range to freeze your eggs
A successful pregnancy needs both high-quality eggs and sperm. Younger women tend to produce high quantity and quality eggs. Research shows that women between 25-30 can produce up to 15 eggs per cycle. Women 35 and younger still had an average of 13 eggs per cycle. At 35 and younger, these eggs are of a higher quality and increase the chances of live birth.
37 is the magic number
The problem with younger women freezing eggs is that the eggs are hardly used. Most of these women are in excellent reproductive health and eventually get pregnant naturally. A study found that age 37 was the best age for egg freezing. These women were twice as likely to have a live birth compared to those who took no action. Unfortunately, the numbers drop closer to age 40. Of course, these numbers will take into consideration factors like overall health. But that means women over 35 still have a window for cryopreservation.
Are you ready to freeze your eggs?
Egg freezing at the right age can increase the chances of pregnancy at a later time. Younger women, precisely 35 and younger, are more likely to create high-quality eggs. In terms of a return on investment, age 37 has the best upside. Fertility clinics are making the freezing of eggs more accessible and acceptable. Speak to the clinic to understand the best options available.
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