Elective Egg Freezing
Find out what you need to know about egg freezing for future fertility
Is egg freezing right for you?
Many women who consider egg freezing may do so as they may not be ready to start a family anytime soon, possibly due to financial, lack of a suitable and willing partner or other personal reasons. Freezing eggs is an option to preserve fertility for pregnancy at a later age when the chances of naturally conceiving decline.
Women under the age of 35 are ideal candidates for egg freezing (for non-medical reasons). This is when the procedure is the most effective, and the ideal number of eggs can be collected and stored. For women older than 35, the chances of success reduce by each year. This is because the remaining eggs diminish in quality with advanced age, and as a result, there are fewer eggs that can be collected and frozen.
What happens in the egg freezing process?
The egg freezing process begins with the woman receiving hormonal stimulation for 10-12 days to make the eggs grow and mature. Several eggs from this process will mature, averaging around 6-15 eggs. While the woman is under sedation, these eggs are collected from the ovaries and are frozen, through a process called vitrification. This allows the eggs to be stored for many years.
Once the patient is ready to fall pregnant, the frozen eggs are thawed and fertilised with sperm. After sufficient development, it is then transferred into the recipient’s uterus.
What is the success rate of egg freezing?
To get an indication of how well egg freezing can work for you, an Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) blood test should be taken - this is an assessment of the ovarian reserve, which is the remaining supply of eggs. The AMH test indicates the quantity of eggs and the number of years that remain where you are fertile. However, the AMH test doesn’t show information about the quality of the eggs.
Another way to evaluate ovarian reserves is through an ultrasound, which can show the quantity of antral follicles able to be detected – higher counts indicate a larger ovarian reserve.
Live childbirth through egg freezing
The success of live childbirths from frozen eggs is dependent on the age of the woman at the time of egg freezing. It’s not dependent on the age of the woman during pregnancy.
Women under the age of 35 can expect on average 10 mature eggs to be collected in one session. Of these, around 7-9 can be frozen through vitrification.
However, as each year passes over the age of 35, the average number of eggs that can be collected reduces by 1 egg per year.