Many women will experience the desire to have children at some point in their life. For some, this may come at a time where it is just not possible to fulfill that wish, whether that is because of career, financial or relationship status, or a combination. Unfortunately for women, it is documented that fertility declines with age meaning that as a woman ages, her chance of conceiving naturally reduces. With a myriad of technological advances in recent years, egg freezing provides a viable option for women who desire to preserve their fertility to have a greater chance of having a child, or children, later in life.
It’s important to begin the discussion with your doctor if you’re concerned about your future fertility for whatever reason. We know that fertility declines with age, so ultimately the younger you freeze your eggs the better.
Early – mid 30s is the most common age that women decide to freeze their eggs. Evidence shows that there is a really sharp decline in fertility when you reach the age of 35, so it’s important to have the conversations early so you’re prepared with a plan to preserve your fertility.
By the time a woman reaches 40, the chance of getting pregnant naturally is around 5% each month. It would be wise to have a conversation with your doctor about some other options if egg freezing isn’t deemed suitable. This might be by looking to start your family now with the help of donor sperm.
A woman’s age is the single most important factor affecting her fertility and whether she will have a baby.
Women are born with all the eggs they will have. Research shows female fertility is on average static until 30 years of age, then significantly declines in the late 30s and early 40s.
On average, a 35 year old female will take twice as long to conceive as a 30 year old. A 40 year old female will take four times as long to conceive as a 30 year old.
And one in two women, who were previously fertile, will not be able to conceive naturally by the age of 41 years.
She shared her egg freezing journey with us.
How did you come to the decision to freeze your eggs?
The final decision was a couple of years in the making, but the process started when I visited my GP when I was 29. She discussed pregnancy and age with me and suggested I have my AMH (Antimullerian Hormone) tested. The AMH test is a blood test that is said to be a good indicator of how many viable eggs a woman has.
When my test came back, it started the process of really assessing where I was in my life. I’d been to university and got my qualifications, I had a great job in my chosen profession, I’d even managed to travel… but I’d only just started a new relationship and it was way too soon to start talking babies! And frankly, I just wasn’t ready yet. But I knew I did want kids of my own one day.
When I was 32, my relationship was still going strong and we were talking about starting a family. Due to ‘other’ circumstances that arose at the time, we decided we would wait another year before starting. Worried about my age and what may present in the coming year with my partner, I decided to go back to my GP and get my AMH re-tested. The result was the same as the original test and after discussing the results at length with my doctor, I just felt it was time.
The age of your eggs when frozen is comparable with your natural conception percentage.
For example: if you froze your eggs at 30 and decided to use them at 35, you have the same chance as a 30 year old to achieve a pregnancy.