Fertility Expert Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour – View on Benefits of Freezing Eggs

Women who decide to postpone childbearing should consider freezing their eggs in their 20s and 30s to help them conceive later in life, advises Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, Gynaecologist and IVF Specialist, SCI Healthcare

Following Kim Kardashian, the latest celeb to publicly announce about egg freezing for herself now a days, even non-celebrity women are getting their egg frozen and expert are observing increase in this trend.

One reason is that many women who have not found Mr Right but still want the opportunity to have their own genetic child are opting for egg freezing

Another reason is career: women who are focused on making their career, their marriages often get delayed; sometimes they don't get their perfect match. Women who aged between 30 and 35 years face problem conceiving. According to experts, the right age of a woman to have children is before 30, after which the ovum quality slowly reduces. After the age of 37, it becomes really difficult for women to conceive naturally. 

The technique - oocyte freezing or egg freezing - where the ovum from a healthy woman is taken and stored for future use was popular among higher income groups but now career oriented women are becoming aware and coming forward for the procedure. This technique is being used for lifestyle reasons.

Most of us are aware of egg freezing and associate it with celebrities and models, but very few of us are aware that even non-celebrity women are getting their egg freezed and expert are observing increase in this trend.

For a number of years, egg-freezing has been offered experimentally for young women or girls who are diagnosed with cancer or other serious illnesses that would destroy their ovaries.

Then there's age-related infertility. Women now have their first child after age 35. Yet, the ability to conceive begins dropping around 35 and more rapidly as the 40s near. Women have fewer eggs left, and these older remaining ones aren't as healthy, meaning even if the woman can get pregnant she's more likely to miscarry.

What's involved in freezing eggs: Women inject high levels of hormones for two weeks in order to stimulate the ovaries to develop multiple follicles. Retrieving them is an outpatient procedure.

There are several social benefits and moral arguments in favour of women and couples freezing eggs and embryos for social reasons. 

  • It offers women more time to choose a partner
  • It provides better opportunities for the child as it allows couples more time to become financially stable
  • It may reduce the risk of genetic and chromosomal abnormality
  • It allows women and couples to have another child if circumstances change 
  • It offers an option to women and children at risk of ovarian failure.
  • It may increase the egg and embryo pool. 

Freezing eggs also avoids some of the moral objections associated with freezing embryos. Only around 50% of women who postpone childbearing until their thirties conceive in the six years following. For those who do not conceive due to infertility, egg freezing would increase their chances of being able to conceive. 
Given that egg freezing is now significantly more successful, we should re-consider its use by women as an option for expanding their reproductive options. 
Egg freezing has a range of benefits for women:
  • Using ‘younger’ eggs could reduce the incidence of chromosomal abnormalities which increase with age. 
  • Coupled with pre-implantation diagnosis, egg freezing could potentially eliminate many genetic abnormalities. 
  • Equal participation in employment
  • Women are having children later today, partly because they are more likely to pursue higher education and a career. 
  • Cost of living increases have also increased the need for women to contribute to family earnings. 

  • The time of child-bearing has an identifiable impact on educational and employment outcomes for women, constraining their capacity to make the most beneficial choices about their careers. Due to this constraint on their choices, women face reductions in earning capacity and potentially serious financial implications that men do not. In fact, they may have very few choices at all.

By the time many women decide they want to freeze their eggs, they are often in their late 30s, when their eggs have declined in quality significantly.

A 30-year-old who freezes her eggs would have a 30-40 per cent chance of having a child. After 38, this falls to 25 per cent and even freezing your eggs at 30 could have its downsides.