Better chances from freezing eggs or freezing embryos?

Dear Professor Winston,

I am a 35 year old woman with a partner. I am interested to know whether it is more likely I would have a live birth in the future from freezing eggs or freezing embryos (either of which procedures I would do asap)? Are there any studies/statistics comparing the two?

I appreciate the answer may also depend on sperm quality and my age at when attempting to get pregnant, but I have struggled to find even approximate information comparing the two procedures.

N.B. I also appreciate there are other considerations in looking at embryo/egg freezing, but would like to take into account the statistical chances of success when making a decision.

Many thanks for your help.

Kind regards,
E

Dear E,

A frozen embryo has between 10-15% of becoming a baby in an average fit woman, though this does decrease with age and as you are 35 the chances are a bit lower than this.  A single frozen egg has roughly about 1% chance of thawing properly, fertilising successfully and growing to the stage of an embryo ready to put back in the womb. Obviously it is possible (and rather easier to collect many eggs rather than many embryos, though).
A number of clinicians, myself included, doubt whether freezing eggs in women much over 35 is worth doing at all as the chance of an egg going through all stages to become baby tend to be very low at that stage in life.
My impression from various interviews conducted in a number of private clinics is that the success rates of all these treatments are often exaggerated, particularly egg freezing.  Be careful in trying to choose an honest, objective service.  I regret that the statistics recorded on the HFEA website are not, in my view, entirely helpful as certain key data seem to be missing which may exaggerate all reported success rates with IVF procedures.
Best wishes,
Robert Winston

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