You may have read that PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is the leading cause of female infertility. That is true – as long as we’re talking about the younger demographic. In the bigger picture, “advanced maternal age” is the leading cause of female fertility problems for women 35-years and older. This is the reason why so much attention is being paid to egg freezing.
So, what’s the hype all about?
Egg Freezing Can Preserve Fertility for Women Planning to Delay Motherhood
According to the CDC, “About one-third of couples in which the woman is older than 35 years have fertility problems. Aging not only decreases a woman’s chances of having a baby but also increases her chances of miscarriage and of having a child with a genetic abnormality.”
If you don’t plan to have children until you’re 35-years or older, egg freezing may be a way to preserve fertility for you and your (future) partner. It can also help to ensure the eggs you do use to conceive your future baby are better quality. As you probably already know, egg quality deteriorates as women age. This is why older mothers are more prone to miscarriages or giving birth to babies with genetic abnormalities.
And, that’s where egg-freezing has re-entered the picture.
Egg Freezing is No Longer Considered “Experimental”
In the beginning, egg freezing was developed to help women whose fertility was compromised by cancer and/or cancer treatments. Their eggs were frozen, they survived their cancer, and then they hoped those eggs could be used for IVF down the road should infertility become an issue.
Very quickly, however, the public realized egg freezing could be used as fertility preservation for a myriad of scenarios. In 2012, ASRM announced that egg freezing (technically referred to as oocyte cryopreservation or oocyte vitrification) was no longer experimental. Frozen eggs used for IVF treatments produced comparable rates of healthy live babies when compared with IVF treatments using fresh eggs. This news helped to promote the idea of fertility preservation for all kinds of women.
Silicon Valley companies are also taking this news to heart. In an effort to entice smart, motivated female employees, tech companies such as Google, Facebook and others now offer egg freezing and other fertility treatment compensation as part of their benefits packages. This has helped to build the hype about egg freezing even further.
Some of the most common reasons women opt to freeze their eggs include:
- The Academic Track. Women who have put themselves through school, and/or who plan to attain graduate-level degrees, may not find themselves on their true career path until well into their 20s or early-30s. This can make it difficult to establish oneself in the field before the age of 35 or 40, the point at which female fertility rates are often compromised.
- The Career Track. Similarly, women who love their jobs, or who have upwardly mobile careers, may find it difficult to bow out during their later-20s or early-30s in order to have kids. Rather, putting in the time and effort throughout their 20s and 30s puts career-minded women in a better and more secure place from which to resume their career without a backslide after taking time off to have children.
- The Partner Track. While some single women decide to become mothers sans partner, most women prefer to have a couple of extra helping hands if possible. The problem is that Mr. or Mrs. Right may not come along in as timely a manner as one would hope. If you find yourself in your early-30s with no permanent partner on the horizon, egg freezing may be an option. It can give you time to find the person of your dreams while still having the option to become a mother once you’ve found them.
We should note that while success rates for IVF treatments using frozen eggs are improving all the time, freezing your eggs is not a 100% guarantee that you will be able to give birth to a healthy, live baby down the road. There are all kinds of factors to consider, and a consultation with a reputable fertility center is your best bet if you are considering egg freezing as a fertility option.
Schedule a consultation with Overlake to discuss your fertility timeline. We’ll be happy to refer you to some of the area’s leading fertility clinics should you decide that egg freezing is a viable option for your future plan.