You may have heard that freezing your eggs in your 20s can help increase your chances of pregnancy down the line, but is there actually any truth to the claim? According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), there really is, given a woman’s peak fertility years span from the end of her teens to the end of her 20s.
Read on to learn what you need to know about egg freezing success rates by age.
The best time to think about egg freezing is probably…now
During these prime fertility years, we’re often focused on other things. In our 20s, we’re finishing school, launching our careers, traveling, having fun…starting a family may not even be a blip on your radar. Unfortunately, that also means that by the time you’re ready to get proactive about your fertility (or starting a family), your prime reproductive years may have already passed.
This is why we believe that proactively thinking about your fertility is always a good idea for anyone looking to stay in control of their reproductive options. And one major barrier, until now, has been the accessibility and affordability of egg freezing. At Cofertility, we aim to change that, by partnering with local fertility clinics to create opportunities to freeze your eggs more affordably.
Take our quiz to see what egg freezing options you may qualify for, including our Split program, where you can even freeze your eggs for free(!) if you give half to a family that can’t otherwise conceive and you qualify.
What are the egg freezing success rates by age?
We measure the “success” of an egg retrieval and later vitrification (the process of freezing and storing your eggs) in a couple of ways. Some of the major important milestones in a successful retrieval are:
- The ability to collect high quality and healthy eggs
- The ability to collect a large, but safe, number of eggs during a single cycle (between 10-20 is ideal)
- Whether collection takes place at an age where the eggs have a very good chance of surviving both the freezing and the warming process down the line
Success rates for women in their 20s
Your 20s are by and large the best time to freeze your eggs, with 25 to 27 being the optimal age, according to a 2010 report from the CDC. The report found that eggs frozen during a woman’s 20s will have a 50 percent chance of resulting in a live birth per cycle, regardless of the age of the person carrying the pregnancy once the eggs are used. Women in this age range have fully finished developing (as opposed to someone in their late teens or early 20s who may still be growing and maturing) and are likely to have the healthiest and most robust eggs.
Not only does it make it easier for eggs collected at this age to go on to become successful pregnancies, but it also makes it the most cost effective period, because you’re likely to get more eggs with fewer rounds of freezing than if your eggs were collected at a later age.
Success rates for women in their 30s
Success rates in your 30s will depend on if you’re closer to 30 or 40, as well as your AMH levels. One study of 1,241 women found that the average number of eggs retrieved on the first egg freezing round was:
- 21 eggs for women under 35
- 17 eggs for women 35-37
- 14 eggs for women 38-40
Because women in their 30s tend to produce less eggs, at this age you may end up having to either settle for fewer eggs for freezing or undergo multiple rounds to collect enough eggs to have on hand for later implantation. As you can imagine, those costs can creep higher and higher the more rounds you endure.
Now, you might be thinking: isn’t 14 eggs a lot? It’s true that eggs retrieved from women under the age of 36 will have a 95 percent survival rate after being thawed.
But more importantly, not all thawed eggs will become viable embryos and lead to a live birth. As this chart underscores, the probability of a live birth varies with the age of the woman trying to conceive and the number of mature eggs available. In short, the older the woman, the more eggs required to achieve a high probability of a live birth.
A study in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics further supports this point. For example, a woman under 35 will need 9 eggs to achieve a 70% chance of having at least one live birth. If you’re trying to conceive in your mid to late 30s, you may need double as many eggs to achieve that same 70% success rate.
Success rates for women in their 40s
Because success rates drop significantly as you near the end of your 30s, it’s actually not recommended that women have their eggs frozen past the age of 38, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
But don’t let that news worry you. If you haven’t had your own eggs retrieved by this point, and are struggling to conceive, you still have some other options (including the use of donated eggs).
Ask us anything
If you’d like help figuring out when to freeze your eggs, you can contact Cofertility for more information. While every woman’s fertility path differs, we can connect you with reputable clinics who can offer basic guidance about when the time is right for you to freeze your eggs during a consultation or dig into specifics by going through a preliminary exam in a provider’s office.
We understand that the timing may not be right for you to start a family right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about what choices will be available to you when that time comes. As you can see, a lot goes into preparing to freeze your eggs. The earlier you consider your fertility, the more options you’ll have.
Whether you decide to freeze or not, we’re here for you to answer any questions or talk through any concerns.