Women are born with a finite number of eggs which continuously decline from birth. As women age the quality of these eggs also declines leading to fewer successful pregnancies and more chromosomally abnormal pregnancies and miscarriages. The concept of ‘fertility preservation’ arose from trying to halt the ‘biologic clock’ by freezing eggs until such time that the woman is ready to start her family and to alleviate the pressure of the ticking time bomb’ of age related fertility decline. Fertility preservation is currently offered for two primary reasons either medically indicated preservation in the face of pending chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other necessary medical treatments that may be toxic to the ovaries and for social reasons when the woman is not quite ready to start her family but wants to preserve her option for childbearing by waiting until a more opportune time for pregnancy arises.
Egg freezing requires ovarian stimulation as done in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle although the retrieved eggs are frozen instead of inseminated. The best method for egg freezing involves a process called vitrification which has in a good laboratory a 90% survival rate following thaw. The probability that any given egg previously vitrified will fertilize following insemination is approximately 85% depending on both sperm and egg quality, using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Embryo development is no different between fertilized eggs previously vitrified or not. Similarly, the implantation potential and pregnancy success rates in a good laboratory are no different between fertilized eggs previously vitrified or not.
The ideal candidates for egg freezing are young women less than 30 years of age. Women up to age 40 may be considered as long as they exhibit good ovarian reserve, although, the higher incidence of chromosomal abnormal eggs makes women over age 35 less than ideal candidates for this procedure.
Why egg freeze?
Because, tick tock ticks the clock so freeze your eggs now.