According to new research, almost half (44 per cent) of young women aged between 18 and 24 would consider freezing their eggs in the future.
Over 1000 women aged between 18 and 65 were surveyed. Over all age groups, one in nine women have frozen their eggs or would consider doing so, with a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds saying they were concerned.
“Trying for a baby can be an incredibly stressful time for some,” explained Professor Lesley Regan, president of the RCOG. “This new data echoes what we have been hearing from women and patients for many years.”
Moreover, the survey found that around one in five women said they would consider fertility treatment abroad and 28 per cent would consider “fertility coaching”, such as somebody to help with the insecurities induced by infertility and IVF.
Three out of five women also admit to feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information available to them about fertility, while more than three quarters aren’t sure whether the information they hear is unbiased.
“It is vital that women and couples have access to accurate, evidence-based, impartial and expert advice which is why we have brought together renowned experts, patients and partners together in one location for our very first Fertility Forum event,” Professor Regan said.
The poll was carried out to promote the Fertility Forum, an event on March 30 to help anyone who wants to find out more about fertility.
Sally Cheshire, chairwoman of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, said: “As the fertility regulator, we collect data about every treatment cycle across the UK to provide patients with clear, unbiased information and to prepare them for what they will face at their clinic.
“I know from personal experience as a former patient how difficult it is to find impartial, evidence-based information so that you can make informed choices about the right fertility treatment for you.”
What you need to know if you’re considering freezing your eggs
Before you put all your eggs in one basket, Dr Cris Beer shares her need-to-know facts on egg freezing.
1. Freezing your eggs doesn’t guarantee fertility success
“The success rate for a frozen egg becoming an actual baby is about 20 to 30 per cent meaning that for every ten eggs that are frozen only two or three will actually successfully develop into a baby,” Dr Cris Beer tells myBody+Soul.
“The success of this process depends on several factors including the age of the woman when the eggs were collected (the younger you are the better the egg quality), the age of the woman when the eggs are put back into the mother’s womb (the younger you are the better the chance the eggs have), and any co-existing medical factors that may be present such as polycystic ovaries, endometriosis, diabetes, very high body weight, and other factors which we fully don’t yet medically understand.”
2. Egg implantation has a better success rate if fertilised
“The success of whether a frozen egg will become an actual baby increases up to 50 per cent if the egg is frozen as an embryo. This then poses a significant ethical dilemma for some women in that if they do not currently have a male partner then they may need to find a sperm donor if they wish to increase fertility chances,” Dr Beer notes.
“Also, if there are any unused embryos once a woman has finished having her desired number of children then these can either be destroyed or donated. Destroying embryos may pose another ethical dilemma for women as these have the potential to be a baby.
“Yet donating embryos to someone else means that they could go on to raise a child that is legally able to contact you from their adolescent years onwards.”
3. Egg collection involves surgery and medication
“Collecting eggs involves a woman having to inject herself with hormones that induce egg growth. This can be a painful and distressing process for some women,” Dr Beer adds.
“Once the eggs are mature enough they are harvested by a surgical procedure that usually involves anaesthetic. This too can be an uncomfortable procedure. The whole process takes at least one month to collect enough eggs but may involve several months and can be expensive and time-consuming, requiring time off work.”
Freezing your eggs is a very personal decision and one that requires a lot of consideration. Ensure you seek advice from a medical professional before making any final decisions.