Fact: Women are born with a set number of eggs.
Fact: The chance of conception begins declining in our early 30’s, but more rapidly so after age 35 because of declining egg quality.
Women who may consider fertility preservation include women diagnosed with an illness that may render them infertile, women undergoing fertility treatment who may be opposed to freezing embryos, and women who wish to delay childbearing.
Medical advances are allowing young women with cancer and other autoimmune disorders to lead a healthy life after beating the disease. However, for some women, the chance to have children in the future is not discussed in a timely fashion. Today, a patient can proceed with a procedure that would allow her to freeze her eggs in as little as 2 weeks.
Infertile women with a partner may need assisted reproduction in the form of in vitro fertilization. For women who have a partner, the best way to preserve their fertility for future use would be to freeze embryos.
However, some women may have ethical concerns regarding this choice of treatment. While it is possible to freeze eggs for future use, the recommended treatment of fertility preservation in this case would be embryo freezing.
As women in the workforce continue to excel and assume high power and important positions, their careers may be in conflict with their biological clock. Their eggs have an expiration date, and we cannot predict when this date will come. What we know is that certain things may accelerate the process of egg wastage. Women who smoke have lower quality eggs than non-smokers. Women with a history of endometriosis, previous pelvic surgery, or pelvic inflammatory disease are also at risk of low egg reserve. Egg freezing may allow women to follow their professional aspirations and be proactive about their fertility.
The decision to freeze your eggs is not an easy choice. It can represent a financial and emotional burden. However, it may be the only real way to “turn back the clock.” You could be having a child at 38 with your own 30 year old eggs.
Dr. Jessica Salas Mann
Reproductive Science Center of NJ
Eatontown | Toms River | Lawrenceville 732-918-2500 | www.fertilitynj.com