Egg freezing fact #1: Egg freezing is most effective if you freeze before you’re 35.
If there’s one egg freezing fact we want women to know, it’s this: freezing younger is always better. Women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, and as they get older, their egg count diminishes. At the same time, the eggs inside their ovaries are being exposed to all of the inevitable, but damaging forces of life: fevers, infections, stress, toxins, free radicals, et cetera. This reduces their egg quality, or the state of the egg as genetically normal. So it’s a two-pronged process of fertility decline: as a woman ages, she has fewer eggs, and a lower percentage of the eggs she has left are genetically normal and able to create a healthy pregnancy.
That’s why, though there’s no strict egg freezing age limit, it’s a fact that egg freezing is most effective before 35, when a woman’s eggs are healthier and more plentiful. Not only will she produce more eggs per cycle, making it easier to freeze enough eggs for a good chance at pregnancy, the eggs she freezes are more likely to result in a healthy pregnancy later.
Egg freezing fact #2: Egg freezing technology has improved drastically in the past decade.
Until a little over ten years ago, women who froze their eggs only had one option: slow freezing, a technique that’s, well, exactly what it sounds like. This process had a higher chance of causing damaging ice crystals to develop inside the egg cell, and only about 61% of eggs frozen using the slow freezing method survived the thawing process.
The fact about egg freezing is that speed matters. Today, advanced cryopreservation labs—like ours—use vitrification, a much faster “flash freezing” technique that reduces the temperature of the egg to the required -196ºC in less than a minute, reducing the chance of ice crystals forming inside the cell. Eggs that go through vitrification have an approximately 90% survival rate.
Here at Extend Fertility, we use a vitrification protocol (meaning the procedure that the lab team uses to freeze the eggs) with an even higher survival rate—close to 100%. It’s called the Cryotec method, and it’s the most advanced and successful form of vitrification available.
Egg freezing fact #3: Freezing eggs won’t affect their ability to create a healthy pregnancy.
One of the best studies on egg cryopreservation (or egg freezing) examined the health and pregnancy rates of frozen and “fresh” eggs from young egg donors in in vitro fertilization cycles. The study randomly assigned 600 couples to use either fresh donor eggs or frozen donor eggs for IVF. Pregnancy rates were nearly equal for both sets of couples, regardless of whether they used fresh or frozen donor eggs, demonstrating that freezing eggs doesn’t affect their ability to result in a healthy pregnancy.
Egg freezing fact #4: If you freeze 10–20 eggs before you’re 35, that gives you a 70–90% chance of motherhood using those eggs later.
Of all the facts about egg freezing, this is one we’re asked about most often: does egg freezing really work?
The short answer is yes. Individual success rates typically depend on two factors: a woman’s age at the time she freezes (see egg freezing fact #1) and how many egg she freezes. Older studies suggested that, for women under 35, freezing between 10 and 15 eggs would offer a 61–85% chance of motherhood using those eggs later. But the latest model developed to predict egg freezing success—which Dr. Klein called one of the “the best, most relevant studies published on the subject so far”—estimates success rates for women under 35 who freeze between 10 and 20 eggs at 70–90%.
Egg freezing fact #5: Egg freezing is the best—and only—technology currently available to preserve a woman’s fertility.
Dr. Klein delivers egg freezing facts in his “Ask Dr. Klein” video series.
As our medical director Dr. Joshua Klein states in his “Ask Dr. Klein” video series, “Egg freezing is our answer to the question: ‘What can a woman do about her biological clock?’ We know that all women have a decrease in their fertile potential, their ability to have children, as they get older. And in the world we live in, women often aren’t ready to start their family at a time that biology would predict would be the best time to do so. The only available option we know of to help manage this issue is egg freezing.”
The fact is, there’s no “anti-aging” treatment for your ovaries. Some new studies suggest that stem cells might have some promise as a way to generate new eggs that can develop into offspring. But this research, while really exciting to experts in human reproduction, is really in its infancy. Egg freezing, on the other hand, is a generally safe and effective technique based on highly tested and established science, offering the best (and currently only) way for women to be proactive about their fertility health.
Ready to get more facts about egg freezing? Talk to a fertility advisor!