Egg Freezing

Data: 
Fri, 03/09/2012 - 11:43
Egg Freezing

Why should one think of freezing one's eggs?

This text has been written for women between 30 and 40 years of age who are not yet thinking of having children— for whatever reason: they may be investing in their careers, they are single, or they're not sure that they will want to be mothers one-day.

In any case...children are a remote option for them at the moment. First of all I will show you some statistical data that most people do not know, but which are of the utmost importance: 

The chance of becoming pregnant is directly linked to a woman's age—most people know this, and there are thousands of scientific articles showing that the quality and number of eggs decrease with age, particularly after 35. However, look at the following table: 

Chances of becoming pregnant per menstrual cycle

AGE
20
25
30
35
40
45
Naturally
35%
25%
20%
15%
5%
1%
Insemination
40%
30%
25%
20%
8 to 10%
3%
In vitro fertilization 
60%
50%
45%
35-40%
20%
< 10%

Obviously, these figures are averages, and not all women behave in the same way; however, since I have increasingly treated women over 38 who are trying to have their first child, and who have significant difficulty, I see it as my duty to draw their attention to an alternative which is EGG FREEZING.

When, in the first appointment, I show patients the statistics for the rate of pregnancy, even in in vitro fertilization, some patients become indignant. The rate of pregnancy is quite reasonable, but the chances of actually giving birth at 40 years of age are approximately 12%, given that the likelihood of a miscarriage also rises dramatically with age. Many will say, “but I'm really healthy, my menstruation is normal, I don't smoke, I don't drink, etc...

” Of course certain factors worsen their chances (such as smoking), but an ovary is 40 years old in a 40-year-old woman. Another frequently asked question in this age range is: “will I never be able to get pregnant with my own eggs?" "Possibly not.” The media confuses people by publishing stories about 44 to 45-year-old, or even older, women who are pregnant, sometimes even carrying twins!! Just this week I treated a 40-year-old patient who thinks she is a young woman (reproductively speaking), because her friend got pregnant with twins at 48.

Most of these patients over 43 became pregnant through the technique of donated eggs, in other words, using the egg of a younger woman that has been fertilized with their husband's or partner's sperm. This is a widely used and completely ethical technique employed by assisted reproduction clinics; however, many women are not aware of this. The rate of pregnancy using frozen eggs has risen greatly in the last two years and this has encouraged us to use it increasingly.  Furthermore, there are no ethical implications, as in the case of frozen embryos. Eggs are cells that can be discarded at any moment with the patient's consent.

In statistical terms, this year at the Huntington clinic (where I see my cases), out of 735 thawed frozen eggs, 81% were fertilized, there were 93 transfers and the rate of pregnancy was 34%. In practice, in my own observation, freezing eggs works something like 'an insurance policy'. It is a relief for the patient to have her eggs stored safely, even if she never comes to use them. The pressure to be a mother that comes with age is diminished, and it is no longer a race against time.

Later on, these patients may even become pregnant naturally, but the psychological effects after freezing are clear. However, it should be stressed that there is no guarantee that they will become pregnant using these eggs. To date, as I said above, the rate of pregnancy is approximately 34%. But the fact is: A 40-year-old woman has a higher likelihood of becoming pregnant with eggs that she froze at 32-35 years of age than with fresh eggs at 40!

Apart from being a doctor, I am a 42-year-old woman, and unfortunately I see my friends in this situation. This is one reason I am showing you these numbers and informing you of this possibility!! 

Dr. Daniella S. Castellotti

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Dr. Daniella S. Castellotti

CRM-SP 76.932

R: Groenlândia, 538 - Jd. América
01434-000 - São Paulo - SP
Tel. (11) 3051.8442

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