retrieving eggs for freezing

Egg Freezing Age: Understanding Success Rates and Timing

Learn about egg freezing success rates by age, whether it is worth freezing at 35, 38, 39, 40, or 45, and if it is too late to freeze eggs

October 3, 2023

Introduction

As women today increasingly prioritize their careers and personal goals, the concept of egg freezing has gained prominence as a potential solution to preserve fertility. However, deciding when to freeze one's eggs can be a complex and emotional journey. Success rates of egg freezing vary significantly by age, which leaves many women pondering whether they should freeze their eggs at 35, 40, 39, or even later. In this article, we will explore the factors that influence egg freezing success rates by age and provide insights into when it might be the right time to consider this option.

Egg Freezing Success Rates by Age

One of the most critical factors in egg freezing is a woman's age. Eggs are most viable in a woman's early 20s and gradually decrease in quality and quantity as she ages. Consequently, success rates of egg freezing tend to diminish with age.

When considering at what age to freeze and how many eggs, certain criteria should be taken into account:

  • The number of eggs retrieved during the cycle is higher when you are younger.
  • With age, the quality of eggs deteriorates, and you need more eggs to create a genetically healthy (euploid) embryo
  • What are your family plans? Do you want to have a few kids, and when? Depending on your family plans, you may need to do a few cycles.
  • Individual health - some people have conditions that may affect their fertility. Fertility testing may help you understand your individual timeline.

Start with the consultation with a fertility specialist to discuss your personal situation and family plans.

Average number of eggs frozen by age and success rate by cycle

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With age, fewer eggs could be retrieved, and more eggs are needed to get to euploid (healthy) embryos. Limited information exists on the success rate of frozen eggs, but the largest study conducted recently by NYU shows that with at least 20 mature eggs thawed and frozen before the age of 38, the success rate could be higher than 70%. In general, it is recommended to have at least 20 eggs frozen to have higher chances of live birth later.

Below is an estimated success rate for 1 egg freezing cycle by age:

Freezing Eggs at 35:

Freezing eggs at 35 is generally a good option as eggs are still of relatively high quality at this age, resulting in better success rates compared to older ages. On average, 12 eggs are retrieved per cycle at this age, with an estimated 75% probability of live birth from one cycle. Your personal numbers may be higher or lower than that. 

Freezing Eggs at 38:

At 38, the success rates for egg freezing are still relatively good, though slightly lower than in the early 30s. While it may require more cycles to get to the desired number of eggs frozen, it is still a cost-efficient option for those delaying pregnancy or planning for more kids later.

Freezing Eggs at 39:

Egg freezing at 39 is another option to consider, but it's essential to be aware that success rates may be lower than for those in their early 30s. It still remains a cost-efficient option for those who plan to have a family after 40 years old.

Freezing Eggs at 40:

While it is possible to freeze eggs at 40, the chances of success decrease compared to earlier ages. However, it can still be a viable option for women who are not ready for motherhood but want to preserve their fertility, but it may require more egg freezing cycles and transfers to get to pregnancy. 

Freezing Eggs at 44:

Egg freezing at 44 is possible, but the chances of success are significantly reduced due to the advanced age of the eggs. 

Freezing Eggs at 45:

Freezing eggs at 45 is challenging, as egg quality and quantity have significantly declined by this age. Success rates are relatively low, and it may not be a reliable option for many women. But there still are other alternatives, including embryo freezing or donor eggs.

Determining the Right Age to Freeze Your Eggs

Deciding when to freeze your eggs is a deeply personal decision influenced by several factors:

  • Biological clock: Understanding your fertility and the impact of age on egg quality is crucial. Consultation with a fertility specialist can provide insights into your individual situation.
  • Life goals: Consider your career, personal aspirations, and readiness for motherhood. Some women may feel comfortable waiting until their late 30s or 40s, while others may prefer to freeze their eggs earlier.
  • Financial considerations: Egg freezing can be costly, so evaluating your financial stability and options for insurance coverage or financing is essential. Learn more about the cost of egg freezing.
  • Emotional readiness: Egg freezing can be an emotional process. Ensure you are mentally prepared for the procedure and the potential outcomes. Learn how to prepare for egg freezing.

Conclusion

The decision to freeze your eggs should be based on a combination of biological factors, personal goals, and emotional readiness. While egg freezing success rates vary by age, it is essential to consult with a fertility specialist who can provide personalized guidance and help you make an informed choice. Remember that egg freezing is not a guarantee of future pregnancy, but it can provide women with additional options and peace of mind as they navigate their reproductive journey. 

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