With more and more couples trying to conceiving at an older age, fertility preservation is becoming more common. Women are increasingly choosing to freeze and store their eggs because it is known that the chance of a live birth reduces greatly when the eggs are obtained from an older women.
To help you decide if freezing your eggs is right for you, we’ve answered some of the common questions we are asked about freezing eggs for a later pregnancy.
1. What is the best age to freeze eggs?
Fertility starts to decline from the age of thirty and is greatly reduced after forty years of age.
Therefore it the optimum age to freeze your eggs in your late twenties. However, freezing eggs at thirty to thirty five is also quite common.
2. Is it possible to freeze my eggs if I’m aged 40 and over?
Yes it is possible, however as the number of eggs the body produces is reduced the number of eggs that can be extracted and frozen will be minimal. Pregnancy rates are lower from eggs frozen after the age of 35 so it is often recommended to freeze eggs much earlier. For women wishing to delay fertility after forty years of age, using donated eggs from a younger woman is often advised.
3. What is the egg freezing procedure?
When having your eggs frozen with Care Fertility the process is:
1. Before freezing your eggs, you need to have blood tests for infection (hepatitis, syphilis and HIV/AIDS)
2. You take injections to stimulate growth of many eggs in the ovaries
3. Your eggs are then collected during a procedure requiring a general anaesthetic and are frozen.
4. When you are ready to try and get pregnant the eggs are thawed and fertilised by injecting a sperm into the egg (ICSI).
Read more about Care Fertility's egg freezing process.
4. What is the egg freezing success rate?
This is a relatively new procedure and success rates are often difficult to predict. Success rates are higher if the woman’s eggs were extracted before thirty.
Learn more about egg freezing success rates on our egg freezing page.
5. How long can eggs be stored?
Australian regulation allow for eggs to be stored indefinitely and it is unknown if there is deterioration over time in storage.
6. How many eggs can be frozen?
The number of eggs that can be stored depends on the age of the woman. In general 6 out of 8 eggs will survive the freezing and thawing process. Of these 6 eggs the chance of a live birth is somewhere between 32% and 18% depending on the age of the woman at the time she freezes her eggs.
Therefore approximately 30-40 eggs need to be stored to give a woman a reasonable chance of a live birth. To store 30-40 eggs a woman will need to undergo at least 2-5 treatment cycles to ensure that sufficient mature eggs are stored. Having a large number of eggs in storage doesn’t guarantee having a live birth.
7. Does freezing my eggs guarantee a live birth?
Unfortunately no, there are other factors to consider when trying to conceive for example, how many eggs are stored, health and age.
8. What is the cost of freezing eggs?
Elective egg freezing is expensive as Medicare does not reimburse costs in the way Medicare reimburses some of the costs of an IVF cycle when a couple have infertility. Not having a Medicare rebate means that the drugs used to stimulate the eggs development are not subsidised and the private health insurance rebates for admission to hospital for the egg retrieval are not covered.
This means that elective egg freezing costs approximately $10,000 per cycle. In addition to this there are annual storage costs until the eggs are to be used and this is $400 per year approximately.
If you’ve been with your partner for a long time, but aren’t ready for kids yet, it’s also possible to have embryos frozen which have a higher success rate.