A few weeks ago I conducted a poll on my FB page asking readers their personal opinion on reproduction after the age of 30. Here are the results:
Did you have a child before turning 30?
Yes = 25
No = 28
If you are 30 with no children, do you see kids in your future? Answer yes if you had your first child after age 30.
Have you ever considered freezing your eggs?
Today, women are choosing to wait until their 30’s to both get married and have children because we are spending our 20’s achieving personal and career goals. Many women struggle with a fear that they may miss their reproductive window. This is a valid concern. Fertility declines steadily up to age 35 and then more rapidly there after. Chromosomal defects also rise significantly after age 35. By the time a woman reaches 40, her chance of having a baby with a down syndrome is 1/106. A 20 year olds risk is 1/1,667. The rate of miscarriage at age 40 is 40% (a 20-year-old has an 8%risk).
Because freezing your eggs will ensure that their quality is consistent with your age at the time of removal, this is a good option for women who know they would like to have children, but maybe not until a few years down the road. It wasn’t too long ago (1986) that the first human birth from a frozen egg took place. Since then, science and technology have evolved greatly and many women have chosen to freeze eggs for different reasons.
How does it work?
Cryopreservation, egg freezing, refers to the cooling of cells and tissues to sub-zero temperatures in order to stop all biologic activity and preserve them for the future.
Women undergoing oocyte preservation will go through the same process as IVF (in vitro fertilization.) This process in extensive and involves a very specific regimen of birth control pills, Lupron, and hormone injections. You will be followed very closely by your fertility doctor. The process takes about 4-6 weeks and once your eggs have matured, you will be put to sleep and your eggs will be retrieved and frozen.
This procedure is very safe with little risk. If implantation is successful, women will carry the pregnancy as if she’s gotten pregnant the old-fashioned way. Babies born as a result of egg freezing do not have any increased risk of genetic disorders.
How much does it cost
USC has one of the best fertility clinics in the country. I looked to their website to find out how financially realistic egg freezing is. Keep in mind, sometimes women will have to go through these procedures more than one time for success. Also keep in mind that most insurance companies do not cover this treatment.
It cost about $10,000 to harvest eggs from ovaries, this estimate includes all testing, monitoring, medications and egg freezing. It cost $5,000 each time new eggs are thawed, fertilized, and transferred into the uterus (remember it could take more than one attempt). There is an additional cost of $500 per year to keep the eggs frozen.
Egg freezing can allow women to have children later in life. It has become more and more popular and success rates continue to climb. If you are considering freezing your eggs, keep in mind that it is better to do so sooner than later. The younger your eggs are at the time of freezing, the better your chances are of having a successful pregnancy.
If you’re thinking about freezing your eggs, talk to your OBGYN so they can help you get started.