What is the best age to freeze eggs?
At our Los Angeles based fertility center, the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, many women are interested in egg freezing to preserve their fertility. Our practice is proud to offer egg freezing as part of a comprehensive fertility preservation program including: embryo cryopreservation, sperm cryopreservation and ovarian tissue cryopreservation (an experimental procedure). When a woman is considering oocyte cryopreservation, one of the most important factors is age. What age is the right age for oocyte cryopreservation?
The right age for a woman to freeze her eggs depends on a variety of factors and points of view. From a strictly medical perspective, earlier is definitely better. The reason is that a woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have for her entire life (approximately 2,000,000 at birth). That number diminishes on a monthly basis for the rest of her life until she reaches menopause (when there are no more eggs remaining). In addition, the chance that any single egg becomes a baby is greatest in the late teens to mid-twenties. With these factors in mind, biologically speaking, 18-25 would probably be an ideal age for oocyte cryopreservation.
18-25 years of age
In reality, most women in the 18-25 year old group are not ready to freeze their eggs. When you consider the costs of egg freezing in terms of time, effort, money and emotion, many people feel that 18-25 is too early for most women to freeze their eggs. Further, a significant percentage of women in this age group would probably not ever use their frozen eggs as they are likely to become pregnant on their own when they find the right partner.
25-35 years of age
This brings us to women who are in the 25-35 year old range. Women in this group normally still have an adequate supply of eggs which have a good chance of going on to become babies. Further, women in this group are often in a more stable position to consider fertility preservation. Many experts believe that women in this group are ideal candidates for fertility preservation.
35-40 years of age
As women enter the late thirties, many find themselves eager to pursue fertility preservation. These women often hear the ticking of their “biological clock” and feel a strong urge to do something about it. In fact, women in this group make up the majority of egg freezing cases. Importantly, some women in this age group will exhibit diminished ovarian reserve and therefore not produce very many eggs. Additionally, the potential that an egg from a woman in this group goes on to become a baby is somewhat less than the egg of a younger woman. For these reasons, women in this group may seek to undergo multiple cycles in order to freeze more eggs or consider an option like embryo freezing with donor sperm.
40-42 years of age
As women pass 40, egg freezing should be considered on a case by case basis. Some women over 40 will be good candidates for the process, however a significant proportion will not. By the time a woman reaches 43, egg freezing is not likely to be a viable option for them.
If you or someone you know is considering egg freezing, feel free to contact us. One of our fertility specialists will be happy to meet with you and discuss all of your options.