Because fertility declines with age, freezing your eggs at an early age insures your chance of having a child in the future.
Women can carry a pregnancy well into their 40’s and even 50’s because the uterus does not age. However, the ovaries and oocytes (eggs) have a time limit.
Freezing eggs, also known as cryopreservation, is done with the use of liquid nitrogen. Once frozen, the eggs are maintained at an extremely cold temperature so that there is no deterioration in the quality of the eggs with time. Cryopreserved eggs can be stored up to 10 years.
Women that should consider freezing their eggs are those that want to delay motherhood for career or personal reasons, wish to wait until they meet a suitable partner, or prefer to freeze eggs instead of embryos for religious or ethical reasons. Additionally, women who are diagnosed with cancer and wish to have the option of having children in the future should freeze their eggs before undergoing surgery, chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
There are several facts that women are faced with as they get older. First, women are born with a specific number of eggs that deplete over time. Second, the peak of fertility is between the ages of 18 and 25. Third, by the age of 40, the average fertility rate decreases to around 15% compared to the rate at the age of 25. Fourth, there is an increased risk for having a baby born with a chromosomal abnormality for women over the age of 40. And last but not least, as a woman grows older, the number of her eggs diminishes and their quality deteriorates. As a result, because of the reduced number of eggs, there is a decreased chance for pregnancy and with their quality not being optimal; there is a higher incidence of abnormal embryos resulting in more miscarriages.
For these reasons, taking steps to protect your fertility while your eggs are still healthy provides you with more options and prolongs the time frame in which you are able to conceive, potentially preventing emotional distress.