Research News: Real-World Outcomes of Egg Freezing
One of the big questions our doctors get asked by women in their 40s is: ‘is it worth me freezing my eggs?’
Egg freezing is a big decision both emotionally and financially, but the snag to date has been that there really isn’t enough data to answer this question confidently. So, in true Hertility fashion, where evidence doesn’t exist, we make it our mission to change that.
This month, two of our Hertility Doctors, Dr Lorraine Kasaven and Dr Benjamin Jones, published a new study, ‘Reproductive outcomes from ten years of elective oocyte cryopreservation,’ using data from 373 women over ten years to find out the answer to this question once and for all.
Their findings suggest that women should, in fact, get their eggs frozen before the age of 36 to increase their chances of successfully conceiving. Whilst previous research focussed on the number of good eggs successfully frozen, Dr Ben and Dr Lorraine’s research looked at real-world outcomes – what happened when women actually tried to use these eggs to get pregnant?
So, what did the research tell us?
Of the 373 women who froze their eggs, only 36 returned to use them. Between them, they went through a total of 41 frozen embryo transfers which resulted in 12 live births. No one who froze their eggs after the age of 40 had a baby. 82% of the babies were born to women who froze their eggs between the ages of 36 and 39 years of age.
So what does this mean? Whilst egg freezing has recently become known as a fail-safe way of preserving fertility, this research finally makes evidence-based decision-making possible. The out-take? Egg freezing is a viable option for having children later in life but it does not guarantee a successful live birth. Women should be encouraged to freeze their eggs much earlier than has been previously thought and be made aware of the risks and low likelihood of success when doing it in their late 30s and 40s.
We are immensely proud to have our doctors flying the flag with such important research. Not only does this equip our doctors with the most up-to-date research in video consultations, but it is another small step forward in our universal understanding of female reproductive health and a giant step towards empowering the lives of women everywhere to have kids (or not) on their terms.