Egg freezing, sometimes even referenced as the “fountain of youth” in when it comes to women’s fertility can help alleviate pressure to have a family before women or those assigned female at birth are fully ready.
While some women are aware there is an age-related decline in fertility, many are not fully cognisant as to how early this occurs in the female lifespan.
Age 35 is popularly referred to as the “fertility cliff” for most women, meaning that around this point, most women will typically experience a decline in fertility. This age is a good benchmark, but the reality is not so simple.
The age range of women impacted by the fertility decline is much wider than we might expect. Some women around age 30 find themselves unable to conceive naturally, while others can achieve and maintain a healthy pregnancy into their 40s.
Below, we cover some of the reasons why women experience these declines, when they are most likely to occur, and how egg freezing can help turn back the clock on your eggs.
What causes the age-related fertility decline?
Two well-known aging “truths” play a major role in the fertility decline that we see over time:
As we age, we diminish our ovarian reserve
At birth, the ovaries contain an entire lifetime supply of eggs – around 1 million1! Over the years, these egg numbers slowly decline. Each month, you lose up to 1000 eggs to the menstrual cycle2. This continues until your ovarian reserve is nearly depleted and menopause begins.
This diminishing ovarian reserve can lead to decreased egg quality:
Not all eggs are destined to become an embryo. While some eggs are great quality, others have genetic (chromosomal) abnormalities that can result in implantation failure or miscarriages3.
This is normal and every individual has poor-quality eggs. However, as we age and diminish our ovarian reserve, we typically see a higher proportion of these poor-quality eggs4.
This means that as you age, only a fraction of the eggs remaining will be high enough quality to result in a pregnancy.
Combating the age-related fertility decline
It is not always feasible for individuals to have children in their late twenties or early thirties, whether it be due to careers, finances, or simply personal timing.
Fortunately, fertility preservation methods such as egg freezing empower individuals with the gift of choice – the ability to determine if and when they would like to have children.
Egg freezing gives peace of mind, and minimizes the stress associated with age-related egg quality decline. Later in life, when and if you decide to grow your family, you can rest assured, knowing that you have frozen high-quality eggs to attempt pregnancy.
For individuals who need to use IVF to conceive in the future, using previously frozen eggs increases your chance of success while decreasing the number of rounds of IVF needed to result in a pregnancy5.
By extension, this also reduces the cost and stress associated with multiple IVF rounds at an age when your ovaries have less eggs of lower quality.
Knowing this, you might be wondering why everyone doesn’t freeze their eggs! However, to get the most out of your fertility preservation investment, it does take some early planning. It is recommended that individuals begin to consider egg freezing early. This is because younger individuals often have a higher number of good quality eggs, so the best time to freeze your eggs is usually in your mid-twenties to early 30s.
Egg freezing at Anova Fertility
At Anova, we want to maximize each patient’s chance of success in growing their family. Our fertility specialists are here to help you create a personalized reproductive plan to increase your chances of conceiving in the future.
To get started on your journey, get a referral today.