News & Resources

Career Now, Baby Later - Freezing Your Eggs

August 13, 2014
By Dr. Randall Loy

There comes a time in a woman's lifetime -- most commonly in her mid 30s – when the biological clock alarm begins ringing and ringing loudly. The average age of our patients at the Center for Reproductive Medicine is 34 years, which means, of course, that many patients are in their mid to late 40s. Oftentimes these patients have been pursuing education and careers and have not been on the “mommy track.” Then, whether secondary to their own clock or curious friends and family, the question arises: “If you’re going to have a baby then when?” This singular question can produce considerable internal and external stress and sometimes panic. Now there may be the solution: fertility preservation via egg freezing.

Fortunately or unfortunately, men do not have the same biological clock or reproductive constraints. Although there are definitely changes in the fertility potential and sperm genetics in the older male, in the female, there is a precipitous decline of egg quantity and quality after age 37 and by age 42, there may be fewer than 1000 eggs left (of the 1 million endowment at birth). Of these remaining eggs perhaps 90% are genetically abnormal. For this reason, more and more of our patients are electing to preserve their fertility via freezing eggs. The average age of the patient who electively freezes her eggs is 37 and down from age 39+ just several years ago. Typically she has a great job and ample money and may or may not have found “Mr. Right” yet.

Many patients feel that by freezing their eggs they have stopped the biological clock and can then enjoy their careers and/or do their due diligence in finding the right partner. The whole notion of being able to “freeze time” is actually liberating and may be the biggest single advance in reproductive medicine since the introduction of the birth control pill. Although egg freezing has been available for approximately 30 years, it has not been successful until recent times with the advent of vitrification, a flash freezing technique that produces a glass-like appearance of the egg. Formerly, the so-called "slow freeze" method produced ice crystal formation in the egg that frequently produced rupturing of the egg cell upon thawing. With vitrification, the freeze-thaw viability rate is greater than 90% in the best labs.

What if a woman has already missed the window of opportunity to freeze her eggs and to preserve her fertility, e.g. >42 years of age? Then she may wish to use frozen eggs from an anonymous, young donor. The Center for Reproductive Medicine has great expertise in fertility preservation as well as Donor Egg IVF and is a partner in My Egg Bank https://myeggbank.com, the world largest and most successful egg Bank. Egg freezing, whether for preservation of fertility or with the usage of a donor, provides a brand-new way of approaching life and a way to enjoy one’s career today with the option of babies tomorrow.

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