In today’s society, women often delay childbearing until later in their reproductive years. The reasons for this shift are complex, but are often related to social, educational, and economic factors. This trend toward delayed childbearing has resulted in an increased number of women seeking fertility treatment in their 30s and 40s.
All women experience a decline in their fertility and ovarian function over time. It is not fair, but as women, our pool of eggs actually peaks when we are fetuses and begins to decline before we are even born! Growing awareness of a woman’s biological clock has resulted in a surge of interest in preserving your fertility.
Historically, options for fertility preservation in women were not very successful and were largely considered experimental. Fortunately, recent advances in assisted reproductive technologies have changed the landscape dramatically.
For women considering elective fertility preservation, options include: (1) embryo freezing and (2) egg freezing. An embryo is an egg that has been fertilized by a sperm. An embryo is created after a woman takes hormones to stimulate her ovaries to grow multiple eggs at the same time. These eggs are then removed from her ovaries (through a very brief outpatient procedure) and combined with sperm (from a partner or a donor) in an embryology lab. The eggs that successfully fertilize are considered embryos and can be frozen for many years if the woman is not ready to get pregnant right away.
Alternatively, if a woman does not have a partner and/or does not want to use a donor, she now has the option to freeze her eggs. For many years, egg freezing was considered experimental because it was technically more challenging than embryo freezing. Fortunately, we have made enormous strides in the laboratory, and egg freezing is no longer considered experimental. A technique called “vitrification” has revolutionized our ability to safely and successfully freeze eggs. Currently, pregnancy rates from frozen eggs approach pregnancy rates from fresh eggs.
We are very proud of our egg-freezing success at Fertility Centers of New England where we have been performing egg freezing since 2008. We have frozen (vitrified) 100s of eggs with subsequent pregnancy success rates approaching 60% and, at $5000 per cycle, we offer the most cost-competitive programs available. If you are interested in preserving your fertility or have further questions about the best treatment path for you, contact us today!