The breakthroughs in reproductive science are empowering more people on the path to parenthood. And, as female fertility can decline very rapidly when you’re in your 30s, the opportunity to make time stand still until you are ready to conceive is a very enticing option. Egg freezing has become a hot (or cold) topic in the fertility world, with the option attracting more women in their prime reproductive years to take advantage of their best egg quality and quantity.
According to Dr Monikaa Chawla, the reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist at Fakih IVF Center, egg freezing can give people hope. “The success rates of egg freezing for a woman of 35 years of age, when she has frozen eight to ten eggs, is around 60 to 65 percent, which is comparable to fresh eggs,” she tells us. This tends to be good news for women who wish to delay childbearing due to career opportunities and other personal or medical reasons.
The procedure for retrieving eggs for freezing is similar to in vitro fertilisation, with the same schedule of hormone injections. The only difference is, following egg retrieval, the eggs are frozen. It takes two to three weeks to complete the egg freezing cycle, which is consistent with the initial stages of the IVF process, including ten to 14 days of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and ripen multiple eggs. When the patient is ready to attempt pregnancy, which can be several years later, the eggs are thawed, fertilised, and then transferred to the uterus as embryos.
So how old is too old for fertility treatments? Recent news that a 63-year-old woman gave birth in Dubai after a course of IVF treatment in India has led to some IVF practitioners debating that financial gain is being put ahead of ethics. The medical world also reports that eggs are more likely to develop abnormal chromosomes after the age of 45. Dr Chawla tell us: “According to a study in the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2013, women who froze their eggs at age 30 had a 13.2 percent chance of each resulting embryo implanting successfully. But women who froze their eggs at 40 had only an 8.6 percent chance, so the success rates for implantation declined as age increased.”
Fakih IVF Fertility Center, www.fakihivf.com (800 32544).