Egg freezing issues
Dear Profesor Winston

I underwent egg freezing (the latest quick freeze method) 2 years ago, aged 38.5. I produced 31 eggs and 21 were fit for freezing. My reason for freezing was to preserve fertility and I am searching for a partner. I have found the search for information of my chances of conceiving a child confusing. I am very fortunate to be a good responder to the fertility drugs. I read that this may mean that with over 16 eggs, they are of low quality. Does this refer to the 10 eggs the lab did not freeze? Or is there a higher than average chance that the eggs the lab chose will turn out to be low quality? Also , are my chances of succesfully having a child from the eggs substantially lower in five years say, compared to now (coming up to 41)? If there is a difference: what proportion is that due to me (i.e. being older, nearer menopause, womb conditions) or eggs deteriorating due to being frozen a long time? And what is a reasonable estimation of how many children i might have from these 21 eggs? There are statistics online (e.g. I read 4-5 eggs to live birth) but this data seems to not relate to my age group and also I have no known history of fertility problems. I ask because I still have not met my partner and am wondering whether, for health reasons of the baby and chances of having a child, there is a significant advantage in starting now rather than waiting and also whether egg freezing with my apprioximate profile does really give me an open ended deadline for starting a deadline, considerations of emotional and energetic merits of late motherhood aside. I do not want to postpone motherhood based on incorrect assumptions about the reality of my situation! Thank you in advance, E

Dear E,

I refer you to my previous answers on this website regarding egg freezing, which in my view does not give that good a chance of having a child at any time of life, and certainly less if your eggs were frozen after the age of 37. I think the published figures by clinics may be rather misleading as a comprehensive follow-up has not been published. The fact that you are a ‘good responder’ does not mean that you are much more likely to conceive in future and you cannot tell the quality of an egg by looking down a microscope. So which eggs were frozen is probably irrelevant. And – forgive me – I cannot possibly advise you whether to try now or later. That is a personal decision made on the basis of many different issues.
Best wishes
Robert Winston

Please help us to continue our vital research by making a donation today.