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When Should I Freeze my Eggs?

Is there an optimal time for egg freezing? Our expert explains.

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Dear Doctor,

I’m 31 years old and happily single. But someday I would like to have a family. My mother keeps telling me to hurry up and get married because soon it will be too late for me to have a baby. Is that true? What can I do to ensure that I can have a baby when I’m good and ready?

Sincerely, 
“Fertile for Now”

Dear Fertile for Now:

You could consider egg freezing. When I talk with patients about the possibility of elective egg freezing, I always emphasize that it’s a very personal decision based on each woman’s life and career goals, as well as her individual chances of success based on the best data we have.

In general, you might consider egg freezing if you’d like to have a biological child someday—but not necessarily right away—and you are concerned about your future fertility. 

Women, unfortunately, have two things that work against us in the fertility department. First, to the best of our knowledge, we’re born with all the eggs we are ever going to have—between 1 and 2 million—and that number decreases with age. Second, the quality of our eggs begins to decline in our 30s, with a steep drop at 35 and another at 37. So the older we are, the fewer eggs we have and the greater the likelihood that they may have genetic abnormalities. 

Some women choose to freeze their eggs in their late 20s and early 30s because of concerns about a decrease in egg quality as we age. And, while there is no single “optimum time” to freeze your eggs, current research suggests that eggs frozen up to the age of 34 are most likely to result in a live birth. But, it’s important to note that women who freeze eggs at a young age are less likely to end up needing them.

You should also keep in mind that freezing your eggs is not cheap—it can cost more than $10,000 to freeze them, plus there are additional storage fees that can range from $500 to $1,000 per year. While elective egg freezing is often not covered by health insurance, there are some employers who offer coverage as a benefit. 

Importantly, I always emphasize to patients that there are no guarantees. There is no number of frozen eggs that can guarantee a live birth in the future—egg freezing is not a true insurance policy. But it offers many women greater reproductive freedom—so if you’re not ready to have a child now, it increases the likelihood that you can have a biological child in the future.

Doctor Goldman
Dr. Randi Heather Goldman, OB/GYN | Photo credit: The Well

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Published June 4th, 2019
A woman in a blue shirt talking to her fertility specialist

Make an appointment - fertility