- Women's Health
A Female Dilemma: Freezing Her Eggs
Tick tock, tick tock. As a woman ages, so do her eggs of creation and genetic material. She only has a certain amount of eggs that she was born with that will be fertilized by a man's semen. As time marches on, a woman is most fertile in her 20's. The health of her eggs at this time is Grade A. However, time wears them down and by the 30's, they have degraded to Grade B, in many cases. By the mid to late 30's and into early 40's, their eggs are Grade C, in health. With each degradation in grade, the eggs are less likely to be fertilized by a male's sperm. A woman is born with 400,000 eggs usually, but only 480 will ever be released during her ovulation period.
Once the degradation occurs, it is not reversible and you do not create more eggs. many professional women all face the time clock. Raising kids require a lot of attention and work and many women are not ready so they delay. They put it off, well into their 30's or take a huge chance in their 40's. Waiting until the last moment, say, when you are 44 yrs. old, is a real gamble. The odds are not in your favor that your genetic material in the eggs will be fertilized. So, the next best thing is to find a young woman willing to sell her eggs that can cost many thousands of dollars. All because the decision was to wait. By age 40, there is less than 10% that the egg can be fertilized.
So many women are now delaying this decision, many are freezing their eggs when they are younger, well, at least a few of them. Up until 2012, egg freezing was experimental. Now, word has got around and since 2014, egg banks have been booming. The cost is not cheap- between $7000 - $30,000, depending on the number of eggs. Having your eggs frozen when your in the 20's and then using them at age 40, is no guarantee the defrosted egg will fertilize- only 2-12% will succeed. The cost of just one freezing cycle for 30 eggs is $10,000. Medical insurance usually does not cover it. Doctors usually recommend three such cycles for anyone over 35 yrs. old. Once frozen, storage fees are $500 a year. The eggs are frozen using liquid nitrogen and studies show that a baby born from a frozen egg is as healthy as one that is not.
The ideal age to freeze eggs is not in the 20's as one might suspect, but between 30-38 yrs. Today, there are only a few egg freezing businesses, but as time goes on, this will all change.