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Key Highlights:

  • Demand for egg freezing is soaring, with a 30% year-over-year increase in cycles. This reflects changing priorities and greater acceptance of the procedure.
  • Motivations for egg freezing evolve with age. Initially, the focus is on career and education. Later, finding a partner becomes more important. Egg freezing offers flexibility amidst these changing life goals.
  • While booming interest suggests a massive growth trajectory, the number of egg freezing cycles remains relatively small compared to other reproductive procedures.
  • Egg freezing aligns with the broader trend of “later” parenthood, reflecting shifts in how women navigate career, relationships, and reproductive choices.

Once a niche and experimental procedure, egg freezing was limited to investigational protocols until 2013 when the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) stated that egg freezing was no longer ‘‘experimental’’ which opened the floodgates for routine use. 

Since then, egg freezing has been proven a safe and growing option for those seeking to navigate an increasingly complex reproductive landscape. Its rising popularity reflects a shift in the cultural zeitgeist, where people are marrying and having children later in life– if at all.  

This steady growth trajectory of egg freezing cycles is evident in the 30% year-over-year increase in cycles reported by SART in 2022, the most recent year we have data. Over 29,000 people froze their eggs in 2022, compared to a little over 22,000 the previous year. This report aims to dive deeper into this trend, examining the motivations driving this demand, technological advancements, and the evolving societal implications of delayed parenthood.

Demand for egg freezing is soaring, but it’s still the early days 

The values on this graph do not represent absolute search volume. Instead they are normalized, then indexed on a scale from 1-100. Search interest looks at the percentage of searches for a topic, as a proportion of all searches during that time in the United States. Learn more about Google Trends.

Looking at a five-year Google Trends chart for how often the term "egg freezing" has been searched as a proportion of all searches in the United States reveals a sustained increase in interest over time. Beginning at a relative interest level of approximately 30, the trend exhibits consistent growth, doubling nearly twice over the last five years. 

This upward trajectory indicates a shift in awareness and curiosity, suggesting egg freezing is moving from a specialized topic to one of broader interest and consideration. These changing search patterns may reflect enhanced awareness of the procedure, alongside evolving societal attitudes towards reproductive autonomy and delayed parenthood.

While the interest continues to grow, the actual number of egg freezing procedures is still in its infancy. Let’s consider the number of egg freezing cycles within the broader context of reproductive choices:

  • There were 29,083 egg freezing cycles reported to SART in 2022
  • There were 389,993 IVF cycles reported to SART in 2022
  • There are over 500,000 vasectomies (a male sterilization procedure) in the U.S. annually
  • There were over 900,000 abortions in the U.S. in 2019
  • There were 3,661,220 births in the U.S. in 2022

These figures underscore the significant gap between the increasing awareness and curiosity surrounding egg freezing, and its current utilization rate. This suggests that, while the trend is undoubtedly upward, there's substantial room for growth as financial barriers are addressed, medical technology advances and societal acceptance further solidifies egg freezing as a mainstream fertility preservation option.

Shifting priorities: what matters most to potential egg freezers

To better understand the motivations of those considering egg freezing, we surveyed over 75,000 women of reproductive age who came to our website to learn more about egg freezing. Our findings revealed distinct trends in what they considered their top priorities, trends that closely mirrored the broader societal shift toward later marriage and parenthood.

Before 28: career focus dominates  

For respondents under 28, the number one priority was establishing themselves professionally— pursuing a fulfilling career or investing in further education. These goals likely reflect a desire for financial stability and personal achievement before considering family formation.

Age 29: peak desire to travel

The urge to see the world and experience diverse cultures reached its peak for women at age 29, potentially reflecting both the excitement of discovery and a sense of freedom before focusing more intently on building a family.

Age 35+: marriage takes center stage  

By the age of 35, the desire to find a life partner eclipsed all other priorities for a significant 40% of respondents. This coincides with the increasingly common decision to get married later than previous generations, all while navigating personal and professional goals.

Timing of kids: ideal vs. reality

Interestingly, our survey showed a discrepancy between desired and anticipated age for having children. At age 20, more than half of respondents expressed a desire to have kids before 30.  However, by the age of 30, this shifted, with 63% now aiming to have children before 35. This suggests a potential disconnect between early aspirations and the realities of navigating competing priorities, potentially leading some women to consider egg freezing.

The importance of connection increases with age  

Spending meaningful time with friends and family steadily increased in importance with age. This underscores the enduring value of close relationships, offering support and a sense of belonging throughout life's transitions.

Geography influences subtle shifts  

While priorities remained broadly consistent across geographies, subtle variations emerged based on where women lived. In larger cities, the emphasis on career advancement and education was even more pronounced. Meanwhile, those living in smaller communities saw a stronger relative focus on close-knit relationships and spending time with loved ones.

City-folks showed more uncertainty around having kids 

City size significantly influenced family planning perspectives. The bigger the city, the less likely respondents were to already have children, and the more likely they were to express uncertainty about wanting kids altogether. Conversely, those in rural areas were more likely to already have children. Interestingly, regardless of location, a consistent 7% of respondents were certain they did not want children.

Trends driving the increase in egg freezing demand

Several converging trends are propelling the rise in egg freezing demand. 

Despite remaining gender bias and gender pay gaps in the workplace, women are making significant strides in their careers. Women aged 25-34 are 28% more likely to have a college degree than men the same age and outnumber men in graduate school. Three-quarters of women ages 25–54 hold down a job today, compared with slightly more than two-thirds a decade ago. This broader focus on personal and professional goals is a primary factor of growth in egg freezing services, with many women prioritizing their careers, further education, or financial stability before starting a family. Egg freezing allows them to proactively address the biological realities of declining fertility while pursuing other life ambitions. 

Additionally, shifting societal norms around marriage and parenthood offer more flexibility. In 1980, the average age of a first-time bride was 22. Today, it’s over 28. For women with a college or graduate degree, 41% and 54%, respectively, have their first child over the age 30. The traditional timeline is no longer the only path, increasing the relevance of egg freezing for those desiring the option for biological children “later” in life. Technological advancements, especially the highly efficient vitrification method, have significantly improved thaw rates, making egg freezing even more viable.

Greater visibility through media coverage and open discussions plays a significant role in driving demand. Celebrities like Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rebel Wilson, Kristen Stewart, and Paris Hilton have spoken openly about freezing their eggs. The stigma around the procedure is lifting, leading to broader awareness, acceptance, and excitement. Additionally, expanding financial accessibility, such as employer-sponsored benefits, opens up the possibility of egg freezing to a wider demographic.

Finally, a changing social climate, including events like the overturning of Roe v. Wade, may influence women's choices. For some, the desire for greater control over their reproductive future might make egg freezing appealing as a proactive measure, ensuring future options in the face of potential uncertainty.

The future of fertility preservation

The growth trajectory of egg freezing, alongside the evolving priorities and motivations of those considering it, plays into the dynamic landscape of reproductive choice. From the increasing openness towards delaying family formation to the challenges of aligning personal timelines within a complex world, egg freezing has become interwoven with broader social and technological trends.

However, significant questions remain. Will financial accessibility or insurance coverage expand, making egg freezing a more viable option for a wider demographic? How will emerging medical technologies transform success rates and further advance the potential of fertility preservation? And, most importantly, how will shifting cultural perceptions continue shaping the conversation around motherhood, career, and individual paths in life?

As egg freezing moves further into the mainstream, the coming years will undoubtedly reveal evolving dynamics and new layers of complexity within the rapidly changing field of reproductive health.

A note on SART data:

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), the association of America’s fertility clinics dedicated to the practice of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), tracks data amongst its 368 member clinics. The data generally takes 16 months from the end of the year to be published online. So, the most recent year for which we have data is 2022. 

The number of member clinics has decreased over time (in 2021, there were 453 member clinics). This could be due to clinic consolidation and/or fewer clinics opting to report data to SART. Not all fertility clinics are members of SART, so we know the numbers reported likely represent a conservative estimate of the true number of procedures performed nationally.

A note on Cofertility survey data:

Data shared is from a survey of 76,314 survey respondents ages 20-45 from August 2022 to April 2024. While a large sample size, it is not necessarily representative of all women of reproductive age in the United States, as the survey was conducted of women who came to the Cofertility website ( already looking for egg freezing information.

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