Egg freezing

Egg freezing is a popular, emerging procedure that attracts many women in their 20s and 30s. However, there are still debates among the scientific circles about this procedure’s validity. Whether or not this is a good option is up for women to decide according to the available data. 

Reasons for egg freezing

  • According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), egg freezing is not recommended as a way to delay having children (Center4research, 2014) 
  • ASRM recommends egg freezing for several other groups, like women who are about to undergo chemotherapy (Center4research, 2014) 
  • There are medical reasons why so many women choose to freeze their eggs; one study showed that 20% of women chose to freeze their eggs due to underlying medical issues (Theconversation, 2018) 
  • Wanting to focus on their career or not having found the right partner is one social reason why women choose to freeze their eggs (Theconversation, 2018) 

Popularity, duration and regulations

  • Egg freezing is the fastest growing form of fertility treatment in the UK, increasing 10% in a year (Theconversation, 2019) 
  • One study showed that very few women who freeze their eggs use them; 95% had not used them yet (Livescience, 2016) 
  • Many countries regulate how long can eggs be stored; in Sweden the storage period is limited to 5 years, the UK up to 10 years, and in the United States, there is currently no such limit (IFLG) 
  • Freezing eggs does not have a detrimental effect on future fertility; it does not use up or exhaust the existing supply of eggs, nor does it cause early menopause (Shadygrovefertility, 2018) 

Success rates

  • The success rate depends on many factors, such as egg quality, age, and overall health (Healthista, 2019) 
  • The proportion of frozen eggs that lead to a live birth is 8.2% for women under 36, while for women aged 36-39 is only 3.3% (TheGuardian, 2018) 
  • One study that followed women who had frozen their eggs showed a 20.9% success rate of women attempting conception with frozen-thawed eggs (Springer, 2019) 
  • There is only a 2-12% that a frozen egg will yield a baby; if the woman is older, the chances are lower (Reproductivefacts, 2014) 

Costs

  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) costs around $12,400, and egg freezing can cost up to $4,000 to $7,000 (NYtimes, 2018) 
  • If women who have frozen their eggs decide to get pregnant, they have to pay the cost of both egg freezing and IVF treatment (NYtimes, 2018) 
  • Women in their late thirties have higher costs of egg freezing due to the need for more eggs (TheGuardian, 2018) 
  • The price of egg freezing includes consultation and appointments, screening, medication, the procedure of egg harvesting, and yearly storage for the frozen eggs (Fertilitysolutionsne, 2018) 
  • Most insurance plans do not cover egg freezing, except for patients with medical risks (Reproductivefacts, 2014) 

The process

  • The whole egg retrieval process usually takes up to 4 to 6 weeks (Fertilitycenterofdallas, 2019) 
  • The procedure involves two weeks of birth control pills, nine or ten days of hormonal injections to stimulate egg production, and retrieval and freezing (NYtimes, 2018) 
  • Women, on average, retrieve 13 eggs per cycle; therefore, it usually takes two rounds to reach the optimum number of 15-20 (Shadygrovefertility, 2018) 
  • Most fertility centers aim to collect at least 15 eggs from freezing to complete IVF later on when the patients want to conceive (Fertilitysolutionsne, 2018) 

Ideal age to freeze eggs

  • The average age of egg freezing in the United States is 37.4 (Fertstert, 2011) 
  • Egg freezing is most successful for women younger than 38 years (Reproductivefacts, 2014) 
  • The most common age group of women is mid-to late-twenties, the second most common group is early- to mid-thirties (Fertilitysolutionsne, 2018) 
  • The probability of live birth after three cycles of IVF is 31.5% for women who froze their eggs at age 25, 25.9% at age 30, 19.3% at age 35, and just 14.8% at age 40 (Slate, 2014)