Many women in their 20s and early 30s decide to put off having children and focus on other areas of their lives instead. The problem is that although 40 may be the new 30 in terms of how women look and feel, as far as eggs are concerned, 40 is 40. Your uterus may stay in great shape, but your eggs decline in number and in quality after you turn 35. Freezing eggs might give women the chance to have children after they are 35.
Women are born with about 1 million eggs, according to the Extend Fertility website. By the time a woman enters puberty, her eggs have decreased by half. Each month after that, she will lose 750 more eggs. Once a women enters her 20s, her eggs already start to diminish in quantity and in quality. By 35, significant deterioration occurs. The older a women gets, the more difficult it will be for her to have a healthy baby naturally.
Freezing eggs allows a woman to be her own donor. The recommended age range for a woman to freeze her eggs is 18 to 40, according to the Extend Fertility website. Perhaps a woman knows early on that she will not want a baby until later in life. That would be a reason to freeze her eggs. Or, maybe a woman is between 35 and 40, but she is not married or ready to start a family just yet. That is another reason for freezing eggs.
Scientists found a way to freeze unfertilized eggs in 2005, according to the ABC News website. The rate of success, of getting a woman pregnant using her frozen eggs, is about 40 to 50 percent, which is about the same as in-vitro fertilization using fresh eggs.
If the fertility clinic determines that your hormone levels and eggs are appropriate for the procedure, you can begin. You would give yourself injections of a gonadotropin fertility drug twice a day for more than a week. If the injections activate the follicles that produce eggs, you can proceed to the next step, which is egg retrieval. After retrieval, your doctor will freeze your eggs until you are ready to use them.
Freezing your eggs is not cheap–costing upward of $20,000 in 2010–for a consultation, ovulation medication, monitoring of your cycle and retrieving, storing, thawing and implanting your eggs, according to the Fertility Factor website.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has reservations about freezing eggs. For woman who have cancer or other medical conditions that will impair their fertility, egg freezing is their best option for having a baby with their own eggs. However, the ASRM discourages women from freezing their eggs who simply want to extend their fertility. Because this procedure is a new technology, there hasn’t been enough time to deem it safe. Also, if women purposely wait to have children and the procedure fails, it may be too late for them to try again.
- pretty woman image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com