See if you qualify for free egg freezing.
A woman with short light brown hair and glasses leaning on a bright green wall and looking to the right

In recent years, egg freezing has become an increasingly popular option for those who wish to preserve their fertility. In fact, in 2021 alone, egg freezing cycles surged by a staggering 46%, marking a stunning upward trend that has quadrupled since 2017.

While the process of egg freezing has improved dramatically over the years, there is still some concern about whether those who choose this option will regret their decision later on, especially given the high price tag. There have been several studies and surveys that shed some light on if people show regret after freezing their eggs. In this article, we will explore the findings of these studies and ultimately help you answer the question: Will I regret freezing my eggs?

First off, what is regret?

Regret is a negative emotion that arises from the perception that a different choice or action might have resulted in a better outcome. In the context of choosing to do egg freezing, regret could stem from a variety of factors.

One possible cause of regret could be related to the decision-making process itself. Those who feel pressured to freeze their eggs by societal or familial expectations, rather than making an informed choice based on their own personal values and priorities, may be more likely to experience regret. Similarly, those who do not fully understand the risks, benefits, and limitations of the procedure, or who have unrealistic expectations about its success rates or the ease of future pregnancy, may be more likely to regret their decision.

Another possible cause of regret could be related to the actual experience of undergoing the egg freezing process. Patients who experience physical discomfort, emotional stress, or financial strain as a result of the procedure may be more likely to feel regret. Similarly, those who feel that they were not adequately supported or informed throughout the process, or who experienced complications or unexpected outcomes, may be more likely to regret their decision.

While some people do regret egg freezing, the vast majority have no regrets (more on that below). In my conversations with hundreds of women in their 30s and 40s, I have heard more regret from those who did not freeze their eggs than those who did.

Let’s take a look at six studies on the topic

We looked at six studies around the world that retrospectively surveyed egg freezers about their experience. Here are the summaries: 

1. To freeze or not to freeze: decision regret and satisfaction following elective oocyte cryopreservation

The study: A 2018 retrospective survey of 201 patients who froze their eggs at UCSF between 2012 and 2016. The researchers surveyed them at various intervals after their egg freezing procedure to assess their satisfaction with the decision and whether they experienced any regrets.

Key findings: Overall, the study found that the vast majority of egg freezers (81%) reported no regret at all.  And 89% affirmed they will be happy they froze eggs, even if they never use them.

2. What do reproductive-age women who undergo oocyte cryopreservation think about the process as a means to preserve fertility?

The study: A retrospective survey of 183 patients who froze their eggs between 2005-2011 at New York University Fertility Center. The researchers sought to better understand the beliefs, priorities, and attitudes toward egg freezing and to track the reproductive paths of women who chose to undergo oocyte cryopreservation treatment.

Key findings: Most (79%) of the women reported that they wished they had undergone egg freezing at an earlier age. Half of the patients (53%) believed that the experience was empowering, 36% found it empowering as well as anxiety producing, and only 6% believed that it was purely anxiety producing.

3. Perceptions, outcomes, and regret following social egg freezing in the UK; a cross-sectional survey

The study: A retrospective survey of 85 patients who froze their eggs between 2008-2018 at a UK fertility clinic. The aim of this study was to investigate the motivations of women who have undergone social egg freezing, identify their perceptions following treatment, and assess potential feelings of regret.

Key findings: 91% had no regrets over their decision to undergo social egg freezing.

4. Decision regret and associated factors following oocyte cryopreservation in patients with diminished ovarian reserve and/or age-related fertility decline

The study: A cross-sectional survey study of 162 patients with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) and/or age-related fertility decline who froze their eggs between 2014 and 2019 in two clinics in Istanbul, Turkey.

Key findings: Egg freezing does not seem to cause high decisional regret. In the study, 31% had no decision regret, 52.5% had mild regret, and 16% had moderate to severe decision regret.

5. Assessing the quality of decision-making for planned oocyte cryopreservation

The study: A retrospective survey study of 98 patients who froze their eggs between 2012 and 2018 at a Canadian academic IVF center. Researchers aimed to examine the quality of egg freezing decision-making in the domains of decision change, decision difficulty, decision regret, and informed choice.

The findings: The vast majority (88%) of egg freezers said it was a good decision. 61% said they would have made 'exactly the same' decision without any change, and 35% would have made a 'similar' decision, but with option-related changes and process-related changes. Some stated their only regret was not doing it sooner.  

6. Exploring women’s attitudes, knowledge, and intentions to use oocyte freezing for non-medical reasons: A systematic review

The study: This 2020 systematic review by researchers in the UK analyzed 35 studies (including a few of the studies above) explored women's experiences of elective egg freezing. 

Key findings: The review found that those who froze their eggs tended to report high levels of satisfaction with the decision, and only a small portion felt regret after freezing their eggs. Those who said they received more adequate information and emotional support during egg freezing were less likely to report regret.  

Most people do not regret freezing their eggs

As you can see, the rates of regret reported in these studies vary, and may have depended on factors such as the sample size, study design, and the follow-up period. However, taken together, these studies suggest that the vast majority of those who freeze their eggs do not have regret. And there appear to be factors that reduce the chances of regret, including feeling fully informed beforehand, and getting adequate support during the egg freezing process. 

Those who regret egg freezing had a few things in common

It's worth noting that the patients who experienced regret tended to have certain characteristics in common. For example, they were more likely to be over 37 years of age, single, and have no children. Additionally, those who froze their eggs for non-medical reasons (such as to delay childbearing for career or personal reasons) were more likely to experience regret than those who did so for medical reasons (such as prior to cancer treatment).

However, it's important to note that the vast majority of patients in these studies did not experience any regret after freezing their eggs. Furthermore, many of the patients who did experience regret reported that it was temporary and ultimately resolved over time. In fact, the UCSF study found that 89% of the women who reported regret at the one-year follow-up no longer felt that way at the three-year follow-up.

Reducing the chances of regret 

It's worth noting that these studies are several years old, and the process of egg freezing has improved significantly in recent years, making it an even more viable option. Advances in technology, like vitrification, have made it possible to freeze eggs more effectively and with a higher success rate. 

When deciding whether to freeze your eggs, it's important to consider your own unique circumstances and goals. Do as much homework as possible (our blog is a great resource!) so you feel prepared and empowered. Studies also have shown that having a support system decreases the chances of regret. If you freeze your eggs with Cofertility, we’ll make sure you have all the support you need.

Freeze your eggs with Cofertility

Cofertility is in the “family” business, striving to make egg freezing and third-party reproduction more human-centered and accessible for all. Our Freeze by Co platform empowers women to take control of their fertility timelines by making egg freezing more accessible. We offer two egg freezing programs: 

Our Split program enables women to freeze their eggs for free(!) when they donate half of the eggs retrieved to a family who can’t conceive, including LGBTQ+ parents, couples facing infertility, and those with other fertility-impacting medical challenges, like cancer.

Our self-pay Keep program allows women to freeze their eggs and keep them all for their future use. Through Keep, we offer our members partnerships and discounts to lighten the financial load of egg freezing, as well as access to our member community.

Regardless which program you join, we offer:

  • Our Freeze by Co community: a safe space to connect with others freezing their eggs at the same time. 
  • Education: Our library of resources provides proactive education around fertility, hormones, egg freezing, and egg donation that women can’t find anywhere else. We believe knowledge is power, especially when it comes to our bodies and our options.
  • Empowerment: By making egg freezing easier and more accessible, our programs further strengthen the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)’s Committee Opinion that egg freezing can help promote social justice and strengthen equality of men and women.

Summing it up

The decision to freeze one's eggs is a deeply personal one that comes with a range of emotions, risks, benefits, and limitations. While the possibility of regret is possible, it's helpful to remember that the majority of those who undergo egg freezing do not experience this regret. 

If we can be helpful on your journey, don’t hesitate to reach out!