USC Fertility


5 Things You Need to Know About Freezing Eggs

1. The Biological Clock is a Reality
The biological clock basically refers to the natural decline in fertility that all women eventually face. It is easiest for a woman to conceive when she is in her teens and 20s and becomes progressively more difficult as she gets older.

There is a big drop in fertility after age 35, another after age 40. Women older than 45 rarely get pregnant. Women who are successful in conceiving at older ages have a higher risk of miscarriage and a higher risk of having a genetically abnormal baby (about 1 in 40 at age 40). The explanation for this is that the quality of a woman’s eggs worsens as she ages.

2. Freezing Eggs Might Be a Way to “Pause” the Biological Clock
The process of freezing eggs is pretty much exactly the same as what a woman goes through during infertility treatment by in vitro fertilization. It involves daily hormone injections for about two weeks, frequent visits to the Doctor’s office for vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests, and then finally the egg retrieval–which is a minor surgical procedure done under anesthesia.

3. The Chance of Getting Pregnant From Frozen Eggs Depends on Age 
The younger a woman is when she freezes her eggs, the better her chances are of getting pregnant from those eggs later. It doesn’t matter how old she is when she uses the eggs, just when she freezes them. The ability of the uterus to carry a pregnancy does not get worse with age, and a woman as old as 67 has carried and given birth successfully. However, more complications come up in pregnancies in women older than 50 and especially in women older than 55.

4. Freezing Human Eggs is Tricky Science
Researchers have been trying to master the science of freezing eggs for over 20 years and it has not been easy. Part of it is that human eggs contain fragile elements that can be damaged when frozen. Recently, there have been great advances in the way eggs are frozen and it looks like it can actually work quite well. But for now, it is important to know that there have been only about 300 babies born from frozen eggs worldwide. So it is still not certain how effective it is and whether it is completely safe.

5. There Are Different Ways to Freeze Eggs
It is important to know that there are different ways of freezing eggs. Some are newer than others. For example, there is a super-fast freezing technique called vitrification and there is a slow and gradual technique called slow-freezing. It remains to be seen which way is the best. Also, you will want to make sure that the center you choose has had success with freezing eggs and has had healthy babies born from their freezing techniques.

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