We know our best chance of having a healthy baby is through natural reproduction at a young age. However, this isn’t the reality for everyone.
Many are not ready or able to have a child in their 20s. This could be because we were just not ready, or time just slipped by and so did our 20s and for some of us most of our 30s. Time has passed, and we are now worried that our chances of having a child of our own diminish with every birthday due to age-related fertility decline.
Electing to freeze eggs increases the potential to have a child later on in life. When eggs are frozen, they are ‘suspended in time’, and do not age. They remain the age we were at the time they were frozen.
Some facts about eggs:
• We are born with 1-2 million eggs
• As a teenager, we have 400,000 eggs left
• By the time we are 30 years old we only have 10% left
• The quality of eggs declines with age
• By the time we are 28 years old 25 % of our eggs have chromosomal abnormalities and this increases to 40 % at 35 years old
• It is best to freeze your eggs before your 35th birthday
• Lifestyle factors, e.g. smoking, air pollution and most importantly age all take a toll on eggs and reduce the quality of eggs thereby reducing the likelihood of having a healthy baby
• If you are considering freezing your eggs, the most important thing is that you feel listened to, that your questions are answered, and that you make an informed decision that feels right for you
• Frozen eggs when used in an IVF cycle are just as good as using fresh eggs in IVF
• Age related fertility decline is when eggs become damaged because they have been sitting in the ovaries working at a low pace year upon year. As we grow older, harmful factors build up and start affecting the organelles in the eggs such as the energy factories (mitochondria). This means that when the eggs are called up for action, they don’t produce enough energy to do their job properly, causing problems and reducing the likelihood of having a healthy baby.
What are the risks?
Some complications from egg freezing could include:
• Pain, bloating, and discomfort
• Damage to internal organs
• Overstimulation syndrome
Egg freezing is not for every woman and every woman is different, with different needs, medical situations, life experiences and expectations. Therefore it is necessary to make sure treatment is performed with empathy, integrity and individualised care. The most important thing is that every woman is listened to, everyone’s questions are answered, and that you are empowered to make an informed decision that is right for you!
Freezing your eggs does not guarantee a baby
Frozen eggs when used in an IVF cycle perform just as well as using fresh eggs, which is fantastic, however, just as IVF does not guarantee a baby, we cannot guarantee that freezing your eggs will ensure you have a baby when you come to use them. As we cannot tell the quality of your eggs, we do not know how they will survive the freezing process, how they will fertilise (this also depends on the sperm), how your resulting embryos will grow, and the quality of your embryos once transferred back to you.