Freeze’s “Eggspert” Answers series provides women answers to common, important questions they have when considering to freeze their eggs - answered by world-renowned medical experts. This post is answered by Freeze and Dr. Alison Peck, Reproductive Endocrinologist at HRC Fertility in Los Angeles.
The sooner a woman decides to freeze her eggs to preserve her fertility options and does it, the better. Why? Well, egg freezing techniques are the best they have ever been, and the predicted success rates of freezing your eggs are close to that of women doing IVF treatment at the same age, which decline significantly over time.
This message is important to all women: the sooner you freeze your eggs, the better the outcome will be. Once you know it is the right decision for you, just do it! I have yet to find a woman who regretted their decision, no matter the outcome, because they are being self advocates for their reproduction. No one else is able to do this for you!
The 4 key benefits to freezing younger
The younger you are when you freeze:
the healthier your eggs will be
the more eggs you’ll be able to collect
the less medication you’ll need to take
the less cycles you’ll need to do
These factors translate to:
a higher pregnancy rate
a higher change of a healthy baby
less life disruption for treatment
The older you are, the more egg freezing cycles you may need to become pregnant - that means more time, money and inconvenience (both physical and emotional) to get the same results.
Objectively, the best age to freeze your eggs is in your 20s. When women use donor eggs - which are healthy eggs donated to women who cannot produce their own - to help them have a baby, the ideal age for the donor is 21-28. Why? Because donor eggs from this age give them the highest pregnancy rates.
The average age of women coming to freeze their eggs is between 35-37. As you can imagine, the probability of having a successful pregnancy in this age group is unfortunately lower than the success rates in the younger patients.
What does the data say about age and success?
A doctor will never be able to tell the future outcome or success rates of your frozen eggs until they are thawed, mixed with sperm, and become embryos. However, pregnancy rates with egg freezing can be likened to pregnancy rates in women undergoing IVF treatment at the age you freeze your eggs. This is because the single greatest factor in the success of IVF is the age of the egg at which it was retrieved.
The latest IVF success rates by age in the United States are as follows, and egg freezing rates thus far follow a similar pattern (but based on the age at which you freeze your eggs, not the age at which you attempt IVF).
Percentage of Egg Retrieval Cycles Resulting in a Baby
So to be clear, the youngest you, is the most fertile you. Although many of us have big plans for our futures, our eggs don’t wait for us to make life decisions or find the one. Societal norms have put childbearing on hold, and now we have the means to combat that and balance our lifestyle choices. Like everything in life there is a season and a time, and today, there is also a balance. Once your season, time, and balance line up, that’s when you should do it, but keep in mind - the sooner the better! 😉
Dr. Alison Peck, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., Southern California native and practicing since 2006, is board certified in both obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive endocrinology/infertility (REI). Dr.Peck is also fluent in Spanish and Hebrew and has a special interest in Genetic Screening of Embryos and Fertility Preservation in Young Reproductive Age Women. Dr. Peck completed her specialty training in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California and her fellowship in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.
Dr. Peck helps women freeze their eggs at HRC Fertility, who is a sponsor of this post. Learn about HRC’s egg freezing practice on Freeze.