Age negatively impacts female fertility, with a sharp decline in egg quantity and quality seen at approximately age 35. Many women are not ready to build a family during their peak reproductive potential. Egg freezing allows women to preserve their eggs and use them later on in life when they may have more trouble conceiving.
In addition, women over 35 have an increased risk of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities in their children as a result of age-dependent changes in egg quality. Therefore, the best age to preserve eggs is between the age of 30 and 40 and optimally before the age of 35. When a woman uses her frozen eggs in the future, even if a number of years have passed, both the pregnancy rates and the incidence of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities is based on the age of the woman when the eggs were frozen, not her age when she uses the eggs.
There are a number of reasons women choose to freeze their eggs, including:
Vitrification, or ‘fast freezing,’ uses a cell culture system that protects eggs from injury during egg freezing. This technology enables us to freeze mature eggs while eliminating the risk of damaging ice crystal formation within the egg. By applying new advances in cryopreservation, many groups, including our own, have realized a sharp increase in survival rates of eggs once thawed (over 90%) and subsequent fertilization rates as high as 80%. These egg freezing improvements have led to pregnancy rates from frozen eggs in women younger than 35 years of age similar to pregnancy rates in cycles in which the eggs were not frozen.
Whether you wish to freeze your eggs for a medical or personal indication, the physicians at the Fertility Institute of Hawaii can answer your questions and guide you through the process. For more information concerning fertility preservation options, please contact our office at 808-545-2800.
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