Like many developed countries, the United States is facing a demographic crisis.
many American women who want kids are putting it offand choose to freeze their eggs – a seemingly magical solution that means they can decide whether to become parents on their own terms.
But this strategy may not be as safe as expected. Groundbreaking research, the first of its kind in the U.S., finds that, sadly for most women, freezing eggs will not lead to the birth of a child.
The study found that only about one-third of those who chose to freeze their eggs would have a baby after going through the entire process—Success rates for older women plummeted.
in a recent research papersa team of experts from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and The Langone Fertility Centre says the percentage of patients who end up giving birth after going through the entire process of freezing and using eggs is only 39 per cent, and the success rate is largely affected by the age of the patient.
how can that be? This has to do with how early (or how late) a woman chooses to freeze her eggs and how much she freezes when she does.
Odds decrease with age
Between 2010 and 2016The number of U.S. women freezing their eggs jumped 880 percent in 2012, driven by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine removing the “experimental” label from egg freezing procedures. according to In 2017 alone, 10,936 U.S. women had their eggs frozen, according to the American Society for Reproductive Technology.
Even employers are noticing a growing interest in fertility preservation trends, more and more companies Fertility benefits, such as egg freezing, are offered to employees as part of a benefits package.
But freezing eggs is a long and expensive process — it can cost tens of thousands of dollars — and the market is expected to continue to boom, Some experts warn Clinics are not transparent about success rates and the potential risks involved. That means older women are more likely to be able to afford to freeze their eggs, but NYU scientists have found that this addresses the crux of the problem with the process.
Scientists at NYU analyzed data from 543 patients who had a total of 605 eggs thawed at their clinic between 2005 and 2020. The women in the sample had a median age of 38 years when their eggs were frozen, and the median time between freezing their eggs and returning them to the clinic using them was 4.2 years. The live birth rate per patient was only 39%. Only patients who had a live birth at the Langone facility or used up all stocks were included in the birth rate calculation.
Those who froze their eggs under 38 were more likely to have children due to the process, and those in the younger cohort had a birth rate of more than 50 percent.
However, only 8% of patients were under the age of 35 when they received their first egg freezing cycle; the youngest patient was 27 years old. Eight out of 10 patients were between the ages of 35 and 40, and 12 percent were older than 41.
The study added Research in the past Women over 40 who freeze their eggs are less likely to have a successful live birth, the study found. Scientists at Imperial College London said in August that while egg freezing is a viable option for many, “when women start egg freezing over the age of 40, they must be informed of poor outcomes.”
Not frozen enough
In addition to the age at which a woman chooses to freeze her eggs, the number of eggs a woman freezes is also key to their success. Studies have found that the more eggs that are frozen, the higher the birth rate.
However, many women don’t store enough eggs to increase their chances, and far fewer eggs are thawed among women who first freeze their eggs at an older age.
Women of all ages who had at least 20 mature eggs to thaw had a more than 58 percent increased chance of having children, compared with 24 percent for women who froze fewer than 10 eggs.
The median number of mature eggs thawed per patient was 12. Women under the age of 38 needed to thaw a median of 14 mature eggs, while women 41 or older thawed a median of 9 mature eggs.
Women under the age of 38 who thawed more than 20 eggs had a 70 percent birth rate, compared with 36 percent of women of the same age who thawed fewer than 10 eggs.
Likewise, success rates for older women plummeted compared to younger women, with a live birth rate of just 13 percent for women over 41 after freezing fewer than 10 eggs. In contrast, one-third of women over 41 who froze at least 20 eggs had a successful pregnancy.
About one-fifth of thawed eggs did not survive, only one-quarter of patients had all their eggs survived the thaw process, and 1 percent had no eggs survived at all. Of the eggs that survived thawing, 65% were successfully fertilized.
The researchers who wrote the paper acknowledge that further studies with larger patient samples are needed, but say their study is the largest of its kind to date in the United States.
“As [egg freezing] Increased usage and results data should be published so patients can make informed decisions [its] There is value in securing their reproductive future,” they said, before adding that their findings suggest that egg freezing is a “viable method of fertility preservation.”
The findings suggest that egg freezing has similar, age-related success rates to in vitro fertilization — the process of extracting and fertilizing the resulting embryos before implanting them in a patient’s uterus.
data Figures from the Assisted Reproductive Technology Association show that IVF has a success rate of nearly 70 percent for women under 35, while the fertility rate for women over 43 is less than 10 percent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2 percent of babies born in the U.S. each year are conceived through fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization and egg freezing.