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Am I Too Old to Freeze My Eggs?

Am I Too Old to Freeze My Eggs?

It’s natural to want children one day. Fortunately, freezing your eggs can increase your chances of making these dreams a reality when you’re ready. But how do you know when to do it?

The short answer is that it depends on several factors. Dr. Tony Tsai and our team at The New York Fertility Center can guide you through the process. We understand that everyone has individual circumstances surrounding their fertility. We also have highly trained experts, cutting-edge technology, and treatments to help you reach your reproductive goals.

If you’re thinking of freezing your eggs, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.

How egg freezing works

As the name implies, egg freezing involves storing eggs for future use. The process is fairly straightforward, which makes it a helpful option for people looking to preserve their reproductive options.

It typically starts with hormone medications injected daily for 10-12 days. This helps your body produce and release several eggs at one time, and we monitor their development through pelvic ultrasounds and frequent blood work.

Once the eggs mature, we perform an ultrasound-guided procedure to retrieve them. The retrieval process usually takes 20-30 minutes, and you receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and relaxed the entire time.

After retrieving your eggs, one of our experts examines them to confirm they’re mature, to ensure that they could get fertilized in the future. Then they go through vitrification — more simply put, they get frozen quickly and stored in liquid nitrogen tanks in a special embryology lab that maintains proper temperature control until you decide to use the eggs.

When to freeze your eggs

In an ideal world, you’d expect your eggs to be healthy so you could conceive anytime during your childbearing years or you could freeze them whenever you wanted for later use if you’re not ready to start a family. In reality, several things can get in the way, such as a cancer or disease diagnosis. 

Having an opportunity to freeze your eggs can help. But your chance of successful fertilization in the future can depend on the age of your eggs — and most people need 10-20 mature eggs to have a baby.

The challenge with eggs and reproduction is that they decrease in quantity and quality over time.

To start, a fetus with ovaries in the earliest stages of development has approximately 6 billion eggs. However, these numbers begin to decline before birth even occurs. Most people with ovaries have 1-2 million eggs when born.

By the time you reach puberty, only 300,000-400,000 remain. At this point, hormones in your system start signaling egg development as part of the monthly menstrual cycle. Each month triggers a group of eggs as possible contenders for ovulation. Ultimately, only one gets released (with a few exceptions); other eggs present during that cycle die.

And this process continues each month until no more eggs remain.

By the time someone with ovaries reaches their early 30s, their fertility begins to decline. This occurs even more rapidly in the mid-30s, and a person has less than 10% of their pre-birth egg supply by the time they reach 40.

Studies also show that 90% of eggs are abnormal by age 43, meaning they lack the potential for pregnancy.

Because of these factors, our team usually recommends freezing eggs before you turn 40 — and, if possible, between 35 and 37 years of age. However, we make recommendations on a case-by-case basis and provide testing to determine who is a good candidate for egg freezing, regardless of age.

Are you considering freezing your eggs? The New York Fertility Center team can provide expert guidance to help you make the best decision. Contact our office in downtown Flushing, Queens, or Flat Iron in Manhattan, New York, to schedule a consultation today.

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