How likely are you to conceive a baby after freezing your eggs? – cosmopolitan.com

We live in a modern world, where (thankfully) women are no longer expected to reproduce by the age of 17 and manage a home while their husbands are out hunting. The crux of it is, women are having children later, choosing to establish careers and financial stability before starting a family.

Data from the Office of National Statistics indicates the average age women in England and Wales are becoming first-time mums these days is now 28.9 - a figure that's been steadily increasing over the years. Simultaneously, instances of egg freezing have been on the rise.

Women are born with all their eggs, meaning female fertility declines with age. By age 37, 90% of a woman's eggs are gone, which is why the likelihood of getting pregnant naturally at around the age of 40 is just 5% each month. Women are encouraged to freeze their eggs in a bid to preserve them, opening up the option of an IVF-assisted conception if they struggle to get pregnant at an older age. But how likely is it that IVF using frozen eggs will work later down the line? Not particularly, says new research.

Scientists from Newcastle Fertility Centre presented data today at the Fertility 2020 conference in Edinburgh which suggest the live birth rate using a patient's own frozen eggs is just 18%. The figures were concluded after the researchers analysed data from the UKs fertility regulator, the HFEA (the Human Fertilisation and Embryology authority), from the past 15 years.

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To put it another way, if you freeze your eggs and embark upon IVF later down the line, you'll have a less-than-one-in-five chance that it'll lead to a baby. As the British Fertility Society warns, "people should know that freezing eggs is far from a guarantee that you will have a baby later."

Dr Mariano Mascarenhas from Leeds Fertility, who presented the research at the conference, noted that people may see an improved chance of success if they have their eggs frozen younger.

"The chances of having a baby can improve if eggs are stored early in life," he said. "Unfortunately we couldnt account for the age at which eggs are stored or when and how they were stored because that information isnt available."

Interestingly, the fertility experts discovered a far higher success rate - 31% - when frozen donor eggs are used, as opposed to the woman's own. "Hence for young fit women with no fertility issue the success of egg freezing may ultimately be much greater," he added.

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While this information shouldn't necessarily be used as a deterrent for egg freezing, it should be used as a reminder that there's no certainty biological motherhood will come from freezing your eggs. With the pressure to conform to societal demands of motherhood can come added pressure to undertake processes like egg freezing, 'just in case'. But egg freezing is expensive, and these statistics prove it's far from a guarantee.

In the UK, egg freezing costs an average of 3,350, according to the HFEA - but that's without any additional medication (which can range between 500-1,500) and then egg storage costs (which can be anywhere between 125 and 350 per year). Yup, it's a pricey business.

So if motherhood is your one true destiny - or if you simply want the peace of mind that you needn't rush to find a suitable sperm donor - then, sure. Go ahead and freeze your eggs. But just be mindful that it may not turn out as you hope.

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How likely are you to conceive a baby after freezing your eggs? - cosmopolitan.com

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