Arguably the most popular question we are asked, whether in our office or in the Women’s locker room, is when should I freeze my eggs (a.k.a. at what age). And while in our office we can give you a personalized opinion, it’s hard to tell you exactly what to do while waiting in the shower line (although we will try). But what we do tell everyone (friends, patients, and gym acquaintances) is that the reason to consider egg freezing for fertility, and when, is often very personal. And although there are better times to do it, there is really no best time. Here are three tips that should get you “hotter” to getting your eggs “colder.”
1. How old are you?
You may not look a day older than 25, you use a ton of sunblock, eat healthily, and hit the gym regularly, but your eggs don’t really care. Egg quantity declines from the moment you take your first breath (and actually even before that!). Nothing you do or don’t do (minus a bad tobacco habit) will halt egg decline, except egg freezing. Egg freezing offers you the chance to freeze a subset of eggs at a particular age, whatever that age is. And just as egg quantity decreases as you age, so does egg quality. Therefore, the younger you are when you freeze eggs, the better quality those eggs will be. So, while yes, it would make sense for us all to freeze our eggs in our twenties when our eggs are at their peak, most of us won’t need to freeze our eggs.
Most of us will not experience infertility and will not need to use frozen eggs to achieve a pregnancy. With all of that being said, if you are looking for that magic age at which you are getting “hot” to the “cold,” we would suggest that you pencil egg freezing into your calendar on your 32nd birthday. For most women, 32 offers you a balance between good egg quality and adequate egg quantity at not too premature a point in your life. Happy birthday!
Are you getting “hot” to your eggs getting “cold”?
2. What is your relationship status??
We are not asking you to check the single or married box, but if you are in a relationship, we are asking you to evaluate where you are in your relationship. Is it serious, are you on the same page about having children, what is your timeline (and do your timelines match up)? Although these are rarely fun conversations to have, they are super important in order to make an informed decision on freezing your eggs.
If your partner is male, men will make sperm for nearly their entire lives. They can wait way longer than women can to pull the goalie. Make sure he (or she) knows what you want—and when. These are the same real-life conversations you can have with yourself if you are not in a relationship and have goals of starting a family either now or in the future. This should help you decide when and if you should freeze your eggs.
3. What happened in your past?
We are not here to judge; trust us (we partied way back when, too!). The past that we want to know about is your medical and GYN history (medications you have taken, surgeries you have had, any pain you feel with your period) as well as your mom’s, sister’s, aunt’s, and grandma’s fertility history. Did your mom have early menopause? Did your sister have a hard time getting pregnant? Not surprisingly, genetics and fertility of hand in hand. We not only mirror our female relatives when it comes to our physical appearance but also how our ovaries function. Therefore, in many ways, before you can move forward with egg freezing, you need to look backward!
By combining all three of these factors—age, relationship status, and your past—we can get a better idea of when and if you should freeze your eggs. And if it adds up (a.k.a. you are getting “hot” to your eggs getting “cold”), talk to your gynecologist or your fertility doctor about the egg freezing process.