Why Should I Freeze My Eggs?
You’re already used to freezing things you’re not ready for right now to save for future use. Did you ever think you’d be able to do this with your own eggs? Egg freezing started over 30 years ago with the egg donor industry, but the procedure only came off of the FDA’s experimental list in 2012. Since then, advances in technology have drastically improved egg freezing and thawing success rates. Fertility preservation via egg freezing can be thought of as pushing “pause” on egg aging so you can use your best eggs when you’re ready for a child. Every year more women are choosing egg freezing as the best fit for their modern lifestyles.
Science has long known that fertility declines with age, and women are most fertile between about 18-26 years old. If that seems crazy young to you, you’re not alone! In NYC the average age of first-time marriage is 32, which ironically coincides with the age a woman’s fertility begins to decline. And when most women are ready to start thinking about babies, we’re in our mid- to late- 30’s and our fertility window is waning. Freezing younger, healthier eggs is the best option for women who know they want children someday but aren’t ready to become mothers by age 30.
Maybe you’re focusing on reaching career goals, you want to build up your savings, or you haven’t yet met Mr. Right. Women have a lot more options than ever before – and amen to that! If you find your partner and want to become a mother in your twenties, go girl. And if you want to go to grad school, start a company, move across the globe, and break up with your long-term boyfriend at 34, we think you should have the power to control your own destiny without being tied to your fertility window. After all, when was the last time you heard a man stressing about his chances of fatherhood after 35?
Another common reason women are freezing their eggs is because they’re confident they want more than one child and they know they’re getting a late start. Remember those earlier stats about the average age of marriage in New York? Well, if you’re married at around 32 you may get pregnant naturally when you’re ready to start trying. But what happens when it’s time to become a family of four or five? Many doctors are advising women who want multiple children to freeze eggs for baby number two if they know they’re not starting their family until their early 30’s, and even women who have already conceived naturally are considering freezing eggs or embryos so they have more flexibility – and better chances – to add to their families when they’re ready.
Women with certain medical conditions are talking to their doctors about egg freezing for a variety of reasons. Undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy for cancer can damage our fragile, single-celled eggs, and egg freezing prior to treatment gives cancer survivors the choice to have their own biological children in the future. Likewise, women who have family histories of early menopause should undergo regular fertility testing and consider egg freezing to extend their fertility window. Common hormonal imbalances often influence the decision to freeze eggs, too: Women with endometriosis and PCOS, which may prevent ovulation, and women with irregular menstrual cycles that make it difficult to predict ovulation, may have better chances of pregnancy via assisted reproductive technology than they would on their own regardless of age.
In all of these scenarios, women are choosing fertility preservation as a kind of insurance so that they have better options in the future. Freezing your eggs doesn’t guarantee a baby, but it can significantly improve your chances of having one if you’re postponing motherhood decisions for any reason.