Arguably the most popular question we are asked, whether in a fertility clinic 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 for the egg freezing process, 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 success rates, 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 or a younger age, you use a ton of sunblock, eat healthily, and hit the gym regularly, but your eggs don’t really care if you’re in your early 30s or early 40s, or even your 20s! Your number of eggs 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. Elective egg freezing offers you the chance to freeze a subset of eggs at a particular age, whatever years of age that maybe. 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 as an older woman. 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 undergo the egg freezing process.
Most of us will not experience fertility preservation and will not need to use frozen eggs or fertility treatments to achieve a successful 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, being a 32 year-old woman 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 egg freezing.
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 undergo an egg freezing cycle.
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 for medical reasons 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 endometriosis? Did your aunt have ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome? Not surprisingly, genetics and fertility go hand in hand. We not only mirror our female relatives when it comes to our physical appearance but also how our ovarian reserve functions. Therefore, in many ways, before you can move forward with egg freezing, you need to look backward. This is also important because it will determine what you as a younger woman can do earlier on. If you don’t think about it early enough, and you do see a fertility decline down the road you will most likely end up seeing a reproductive endocrinologist for fertility treatments such as IVF, embryo freezing, blood tests, hormone injections and other reproductive medicines.
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 specialist about the egg freezing process.