What Age Should You Freeze Your Eggs?-image

What Age Should You Freeze Your Eggs?

Medically Reviewed by Hertility on March 26, 2024

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of egg freezing—but most importantly whether or not there is a perfect age to freeze your eggs. Read on to find out. 

Quick facts:

  • Technically you can freeze your eggs at any age before menopause. 
  • Eggs retrieved in your 20s and early 30s usually result in better outcomes than those in your late 30s and 40s.  
  • This is because over time both the quality and quantity of your eggs decline. 
  • Some clinics may impose an age limit for treatment based on ethical and medical reasons. 

If you’re considering egg freezing, get in touch to see how we can help.

Why egg freezing is becoming so popular

According to the HFEA (Human Fertilisation & Embryo Authority), egg freezing and embryo storage cycles are the fastest-growing fertility treatments in the UK. 

More people than ever are turning to egg freezing and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) to help them navigate their future fertility.

Having children later in life is also becoming the norm. The Office of National Statistics found that more and more people are turning 30 without having had children.

Between “biological clocks”, careers, relationships, medical history, genetic conditions, family expectations and more, fertility planning is tricky business. 

Why fertility treatments are on the rise could be explained by a few factors. More people are looking to conceive later in life when natural conception is harder. More same-sex couples and people pursuing solo parenthood are accessing fertility treatments to conceive. And general awareness around treatments is increasing.

Understanding egg freezing

As you age, the quality and quantity of your eggs decline, which means getting pregnant and sometimes staying pregnant becomes more difficult. Freezing your eggs will preserve their quality as they are now, ready for when you want to have a baby. 

Known medically as “oocyte cryopreservation”, egg freezing is a medical procedure that involves having your ovaries stimulated with hormones so that they produce multiple eggs. This is instead of a single egg, as in a typical natural menstrual cycle. 

These unfertilised eggs are then surgically removed, frozen and stored in a fertility clinic until you’re ready to use them. The egg-freezing cycle, from ovarian stimulation to egg retrieval, takes around two weeks.

You can learn more about the egg freezing process here, including a detailed breakdown of the steps.  

Egg freezing can be both physically and emotionally draining. Additionally, it can cost up to £8,000 in the UK.  

Egg freezing offers an opportunity to preserve your fertility if you plan on having children in the future. Maybe you want more time to focus on your career, travel the world or just haven’t found the one yet. Or perhaps you’re about to undergo medical treatments or gender-affirming therapy that could affect your fertility. 

Egg freezing allows you to live this part of your life without worrying so much about your fertility. It takes the pressure of having to decide whether to have a baby now. 

It’s important to note, though, that egg freezing isn’t a fail-safe method for having a baby, and its success relies on healthy eggs and a healthy reproductive environment. Generally, younger eggs are healthier eggs.

If you’re considering egg freezing, at Hertility, we support you through the egg-freezing process with our partner clinics. 

What is the best age to freeze your eggs?

Technically, you can freeze your eggs at any age before menopause, but The earlier you do, the better your chances of having a pregnancy. Eggs retrieved in your 20s and early 30s usually result in better outcomes than those in your late 30s and 40s. 

In our early to mid-twenties, we are at our most fertile, but there’s still only a 25-30% chance of us getting pregnant each cycle naturally. That number drops as the years go by—at 40, it’s only 5%. 

Age also increases the risk of pregnancy-related complications like miscarriage, genetic disorders in the baby and gestational diabetes, especially after your mid-thirties.

Despite the best time to freeze our eggs being under 35, the average age is 38. This potentially means that a lower quality and quantity of eggs will be retrieved, and you may need more cycles to collect enough eggs.

Who is egg freezing for?

There are a few instances where you may be considering egg freezing as a viable fertility preservation treatment. These are roughly split into what’s known as medical egg freezing and social egg freezing. 

More obviously, medical egg freezing is when you freeze your eggs for a medical reason, for example when a medical procedure or diagnosis might increase your risk of infertility.

You might choose medical egg freezing if you’re diagnosed with cancer, need cancer treatment like chemotherapy or radiotherapy, are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or you’re having gender-affirming therapy.

Genetic conditions might also influence the decision to freeze your eggs. To increase the chances of being able to have a baby in the future, women or those AFAB with a family history of early menopause or another genetic condition might consider egg freezing as a precautionary measure.

The other type of egg freezing, known as elective or social egg freezing,  is more about life choices. This could include holding off on family plans because of career goals, ticking things off your bucket list or just because you’re not quite ready to have kids right now. 

Your relationship status could be a deciding factor too. Maybe you haven’t found the right person, or you have but you’re both not ready for children yet. Previous difficulty with fertility might make you want to freeze your eggs as a proactive measure, or religious and cultural expectations might come into play too.

Is there an egg freezing age limit?

Although there’s technically no age limit for egg freezing, specific fertility clinics might impose one. This stems from the likelihood of live births reducing dramatically after 40.

Fertility clinics might set age limits for various reasons, including ethical concerns. The journey of egg freezing and fertility preservation can be quite a ride, both emotionally and physically. When the odds of a successful pregnancy are slim, clinics may put age restrictions in place to safeguard the health and well-being of their patients.

If you’re aged 40 or over and considering freezing your eggs, connect with a fertility advisor for personalised advice. As you age, your ovarian reserve naturally declines. An AMH (Anti-Müllerian Hormone) test, which assesses your ovarian reserve, can assist you in determining whether egg freezing is a suitable option for you.

Based on a 10-year study of 373 women conducted by our research team, better reproductive outcomes were observed for women who froze their eggs before turning 36. Among those who froze their eggs between 36 and 39, 82% achieved live births, while no live births were recorded for women who froze their eggs at 40 and above.

Freezing eggs is most effective under the age of 35 for several reasons. As you age, fertility takes a hit with a decrease in the quantity and quality of your eggs, along with a less supportive reproductive environment for pregnancy compared to a younger body.

Additionally, if you have a low egg reserve, you might have a reduced response to ovarian stimulation during the egg-freezing process and need more cycles to collect a suitable number of eggs.

In the UK, you can store eggs, sperm, or embryos (fertilised eggs) for a maximum of 55 years. Fertility clinics typically charge an annual storage fee.If you have concerns or questions about egg freezing, speak with one of our fertility advisors. They can provide personalised guidance based on your circumstances.

Embryo cryopreservation 

In addition to egg freezing, there are other fertility preservation methods and complementary options you might consider on your fertility journey.

Embryo cryopreservation is when embryos are created through IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) when an egg is fertilised with sperm in the laboratory. This is often preferred for couples in stable relationships or those using sperm donors. 

Egg freezing age FAQs

What is the ideal age range for egg freezing?

Technically, you can freeze your eggs at any age before menopause, but eggs retrieved in your 20s and early 30s usually result in better outcomes than those in your late 30s and 40s. This is largely to do with the quality of the eggs at the time they are retrieved, as generally, our eggs begin to decline more rapidly from 35 onwards. This can affect your ability to become and stay pregnant, plus pregnancy complications and genetic disorders are more common.

Are there any risks associated with egg freezing at a later age?

Unfortunately, there are various risks associated with egg freezing at a later age. As we age, the quantity and quality of our eggs do too. This declining ovarian reserve means that not only are there potentially fewer eggs to retrieve but the eggs retrieved and frozen at a later age have a lower chance of successful fertilisation and implantation during future fertility treatments.

Age also increases the risk of pregnancy-related complications like miscarriage, genetic disorders in the baby and gestational diabetes, especially after your mid-thirties.

Older individuals might also require multiple IVF cycles to achieve a successful pregnancy (because fewer eggs retrieved might result in fewer viable embryos) which can cause more financial and emotional strain.

How long can frozen eggs remain viable?

Frozen eggs remain viable and are allowed to be stored for up to 55 years in the UK.


Zoya Ali BSc, MSc

Zoya Ali BSc, MSc

Zoya is a scientific researcher with a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology and a Masters in Prenatal Genetics & Foetal Medicine from University College London. Her research interests are reproductive genetics, fertility preservation, gynaecological health conditions and sexual health.

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