Dear CrunchyTales, I’m 40 years old and single. I am aware of my declining fertility, and I’ve often witnessed friends of mine who have struggled with trying to conceive at this age. However, as I’m thinking proactively about my future and fertility, I’d like to freeze my eggs to give myself some chances of conception in the future. Is it too late?
Jenny A. – Reading (UK)
Answer by Gynecologist Rosanna Palmiotto, MD
Dear Jenny, with the availability of medical support and technology, egg freezing is nowadays more accessible and common than in the past. More and more women are in fact choosing egg freezing for several reasons; they aren’t ready for kids, may get married at a later age or have some medical concerns that force them to plan a pregnancy later. However, as they get older they will have less probability of succeeding.
The earlier a woman participates in egg freezing, the better. While egg freezing can be done at any age, it’s best to start before the age of 35 years old so that more eggs can be frozen before they begin to decline in quality and quantity.
After this age, women’s eggs tend to deteriorate, so there will be less probability to get pregnant, also their quality may not be adequate enough to achieve a successful pregnancy, This is why egg freezing in or around your 40s can be tricky as the chances you can carry the pregnancy decrease as you get older.
The best bet would be to speak with a reproductive specialist or fertility clinic. These clinics work with cases that are linked to age and can provide the best egg-freezing solutions available.
Egg freezing facts
- It is not a simple fix for delaying motherhood
- Success rates can be low
- Egg quality and number naturally drops as a woman gets older
- NHS funding may be available if you are having medical treatment that affects your fertility
- Frozen eggs can usually only be stored for 10 years (although there are some exceptions for medical reasons)
- Egg freezing costs anywhere between £2,720 and £3,920 per go.
- Most clinics will include a couple of years of storage in that price, but there may be an extra annual charge of up to £350 for that service.
- The complete cost if you then opt to thaw and use your eggs in a future treatment, is £7,000 to £8,000 or more.