We hear this concern frequently from our Ovally customers – and given the cost of each egg freezing or IVF cycle, it’s certainly warranted. While we recommend you talk to your doctor about this question, we wanted to share some data points on the topic that you can use going into your conversations:
Unfortunately, there’s no perfect answer to this question, and there aren’t a ton of data available yet on egg freezing, as it’s a relatively new technique, and many freezers haven’t used their eggs yet. A few studies suggest an average 5-10% chance that an egg will result in a live birth with a range of individual differences. These percentages translate into needing to freeze at least 15 eggs to be relatively sure that they’d result in one baby. The chances seem to increase the younger the eggs are.
Since a baby grows out of just one fertilized egg cell, it seems counterintuitive that you’d have to freeze more than one egg to increase your likelihood that your frozen eggs will result in a baby. However, while eggs seem to survive the freezing and subsequent warming relatively well, the actual IVF procedure tends to be a lot less efficient. You can think of the process from freezing an egg to implanting it in your uterus as a funnel that gets narrower:
If you’re not ready for kids yet or not in a position to have them but are considering freezing your eggs, there’s a lot to think about. Often women and couples think about when they might start to have kids. However, what a lot of people don’t think about is when they would like to have their *last* child if they’re hoping to have several. It’s not your first child you want to plan for, but your last.
We’ve put together a summary of the potential risks and downsides of egg freezing. It’s important to us that you make your decision considering all potential issues before you freeze your eggs with Ovally or elsewhere, and that you’re comfortable with the risks and your doctor’s ability to mitigate them prior to treatment. Here’s some food for thought to make an informed decision together with your doctor:
When Ovally‘s founder Kathy first did her research on egg freezing, there were lots of things she worried about, like so many of us: Is the procedure safe, is it painful, will there be long-term effects? Putting hormones into her body and giving herself injections sounded like no small procedure (unlike what a lot of Instagram ads will have you believe). Most of the content available online is written by fertility clinics without scientific references – so we’ve looked for peer-reviewed, scientific studies underlying various claims about egg freezing. We’ve summarized what we found with references below. As usual, always consult your doctor with your questions and concerns as well – we try our best to summarize and reference the best evidence but don’t replace medical advice.
Fertility has been in the back of my mind since my 20s when I started considering more seriously whether or not I wanted kids. The answer to that question wasn’t an emphatic yes, but also not a clear no. I was focused on school and career, I hadn’t found the right partner, and I was very conscious of the changes and sacrifices kids can bring.
Nonetheless, this voice in the back of my mind kept nagging me: Should I be worried about my biological clock even though I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids? How much time did I have to find the right partner and make a decision? Would I regret not having kids if I biologically couldn’t? Would I be just as happy adopting? How could I know whether I’d have fertility issues beyond those associated with aging?