Bottom line: there is no best age. It depends on a lot of individual factors.
There are two new articles on some surprising facts about to whom egg freezing is being promoted and how “older” fertility preservers are using their eggs.
The biggest surprise is that these days the market for fertility preservation is skewing younger, the result in part of a promotional shift. Of course the younger a woman is when she freezes eggs, the greater the chance for success. The promotional message to younger women is that the process has never been better, faster or cheaper, or more likely to yield a better store of high-quality eggs. All true, but does that mean that younger women should be frightened into going through a medical procedure they may never need. It certainly may be appropriate for a young woman who may impair her future fertility because of an illness of such as cancer.
It’s a message one company plans to magnify via a national advertising campaign encompassing radio, television, print and social media. Some clinics are hosts to “lets chill” egg-freezing parties, inviting guests to take in facts and figures along with Champagne and canapés. One clinic in New York, takes an even more aggressive approach, inviting potential clients to hop aboard a pop-up van to have their hormone levels tested.
Secondly, fewer than 10 percent of older women who freeze some of their eggs as insurance against age-related declines in fertility eventually use them to try to get pregnant, new research shows. The study included 563 women who had eggs frozen between 2009 and 2017 at a large European fertility center. On average, the women were 36 years old. Only 7.6 percent of those women have returned to thaw their eggs and try to get pregnant, according to the study.
Most of the women who did not return to thaw their eggs had found a partner with whom to pursue motherhood, according to study author Michel De Vos, of the Brussels Center for Reproductive Medicine in Belgium. He said that a growing number of older women in the United States and Europe are having their eggs frozen, but those over age 35 need to have realistic expectations. Egg quality declines markedly with age, and success rates will be lower in women freezing their eggs beyond this age,” he said.
So what is the right age to consider fertility preservation. What women need to consider is a balance; not too early when they may have a great chance of meeting a partner and getting pregnant on their own, and yet not too late when they are less likely to use the eggs and not have a great a chance of success. The best person from whom to get advice is your local ethical ASRM member fertility specialist and do not fall prey to the hype to either get it done too early or too late. This is an individual decision a woman has to make with the best advice available.