28 January 2019

What does egg freezing involve?

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Sims IVF

A scientist freezing eggs

At a glance:

There are some valuable statistics to consider when you are in your twenties. You may not be ready to start a family yet but that shouldn’t stop you from considering your options for the future.

  • A woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have, and with age they decrease in quality and quantity
  • At 35 a woman’s fertility starts to significantly decline, but this process actually starts much earlier in life
  • Egg freezing is the process of storing a woman’s unfertilised eggs to increase her chances of conceiving at a later date

We see a lot of woman starting families later in life but the truth is our chance of conceiving naturally decreases as we get older, with 35 the tipping point when it comes to fertility decline.

It’s worth knowing what your chances of falling pregnant naturally are each month:

  • Early to mid-twenties: 25% chance each month
  • Age 30: 20% chance each month
  • Age 40: Around 5% chance each month

And with age being the biggest factor affecting a woman’s fertility (by age 40 it’s fallen by more than half), it would be great to see more women being proactive in their approach to exploring assisted reproductive technologies like egg-freezing well before their fertility undergoes a significant decline. It’s a way of taking out fertility insurance.

What are the steps?

Egg freezing requires 10-12 days of self-administered hormonal stimulation via daily injections, followed by a 30 minute collection procedure (usually done under twilight anaesthetic) and then the freezing and storing of the eggs. Although far from an on-the-spot procedure, many single women find the peace of mind invaluable, with collected eggs often successfully stored for many years.