The trend around the globe is for women to want to have children later in life, perhaps concentrating on a career of merely taking time to settle down. However, it is widely accepted that the older we get, the less fertile we become. At our clinic, we are seeing an increasing number of women in their thirties that want to find out more about the possibility of freezing their eggs.
Egg freezing is often a sensible choice for women who find themselves in the predicament of being around 30, but not yet ready to start a family. Of course, many things need to be considered before ultimately deciding if it is the right choice for you and your partner. Everyone’s circumstances will be unique, so it is certainly worth doing some research before choosing if this is the route that you want to take. In this article, we will examine six things that you should consider.
- Take age into consideration
Around 30 is the ideal age to consider freezing your eggs as this is when there is the best chance of harvesting higher quality eggs. It is recommended that women freeze their eggs before the age of 36 as there is a higher probability of eggs being fertilised and of a healthy pregnancy. Some women do choose to freeze their eggs later than this, but this is not advisable unless it is for medical reasons as fertility rapidly declines in most women after 36.
Of course, women in their early 20s will produce an excellent number of good quality eggs. However, the chances are that they would remain frozen for a long period which would affect their quality. Often women in this age group do not know at what age they would wish to conceive artificially and if they are ready, in most cases they would try to conceive naturally. Some women may need IVF at this young age, but for this article, we won’t explore this further at this point.
- Eggs should only be frozen for ten years
As we have touched upon, eggs should only be frozen for a maximum of ten years, and indeed, this is a legal requirement in many countries. Of course, legal extensions can be granted by the Ministry of Health, but you must explain the reasons why it is required. It further backs up the idea for women to start considering freezing their eggs around the age of 30.
It is worth noting that if your reduced fertility is due to the natural aging process and would not be deemed premature by medical professionals, it is unlikely that any extension would be granted.
- Choosing the right clinic
Although fertility clinics are tightly regulated in Thailand, some are better than others. At First Fertility, we have an expert team and state-of-the-art equipment to increase your chances of harvesting more healthy eggs. As a clinic, we specialise solely on fertility issues and employ some of the country’s leading experts. We publish accurate and up to date figure regarding our success rates.
We would recommend that anyone considering egg freezing, conducts their own due diligence to determine the best clinic for them. Always make sure you are comparing like for like figures as sadly some less reputable clinics publish misleading statistics. We would strongly advise that any decision you make is NOT influenced by price.
- Not all eggs that are harvested will be suitable for IVF
Your doctor will always advise you that some of the harvested eggs will be unsuitable for IVF treatment in the future and some eggs will also deteriorate during and after freezing. Preparing patients mentally and helping them to understand the procedure, both the pros and cons, is essential.
A report published in the National Library of Medicine suggested that for a 34-year-old woman to stand a 75% chance of having a live birth, she would need to have ten eggs harvested and successfully frozen. That number doubles if the female is 37 and jumps to a staggering 61 if the eggs are harvested at 42. This again supports the notion that women should start considering egg freezing around 30 years of age.
To put into perspective the number of eggs that need to be harvested, a 34-year-old female may produce 15 eggs with the aid of stimulation. However, some will be immature and not suitable for freezing, some will be lost at the freezing stage, and some will be lost at thawing. It is not unusual for there to be only four embryos remaining at the end of the process. A study by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in 2017, found that each egg has a 19% birth rate after embryo transfer.
- You may need to have the procedure more than once
As these figures would suggest, there is a high probability that the female may need to undergo the procedure more than once to get enough healthy eggs which are suitable for freezing. Several factors will affect how many eggs a woman produces during a single cycle of stimulation and retrieval. Age is a significant factor as too is the lady’s overall health, so it is worth getting yourself in peak physical condition before you start egg freezing.
It is vital to accept that you may need more than one cycle so you should be prepared for this both mentally and financially. Our team will do all they can to help you prepare in every sense with useful and friendly advice.
- There are no guarantees
We always stress to all couples that come to our clinic that we cannot offer any guarantees that the procedures will be a success. Although the chances are higher with eggs harvested from women under the age of 36, the older the female is when embryos are implanted, the higher the risk there will be of complications during pregnancy.
If you would like more information about egg freezing or indeed any other fertility issue, you can contact us. Our team will be happy to listen and offer any help and advice they can.