A woman is born with all her eggs. As she ages, they age with her, creating a natural decline in both the quality and the quantity of her eggs, and as a result, her overall fertility. This is especially true as she approaches the age of 40.
As you can see by the graph, a 25-year-old woman has approximately an 80% chance of conceiving naturally. By age 35, this has dropped to about 50%; by age 45, she only has about an 8% chance of getting pregnant naturally. As she continues to age, this percentage continues to decrease.
What does all this mean? Well, practically, it means the window of opportunity to decide when to have children is much smaller for women than it is for men. Egg freezing has the potential to extend this window of opportunity.
Egg freezing, or in scientific terms “oocyte cryopreservation”, is a new innovation in the field of Assisted Reproductive Technologies. For the past 20 years, it has been possible to freeze embryos, and thousands of babies have been born around the world. Until recently, the technology for freezing unfertilized eggs, or oocytes, has not proven reliable, and has resulted in very few pregnancies. However advances in research and new techniques have made egg freezing a viable option for young women today.
At LifeQuest, we've been freezing eggs since 2003. We are very proud that the first baby in Canada conceived using eggs cryopreserved by this method was born to a LifeQuest couple in 2004. Since then, we have successfully frozen, stored, and later thawed and fertilized human eggs with subsequent live births.
A woman’s age at the time of her egg collection is the biggest determinant of a successful outcome to egg freezing, and any subsequent chance of pregnancy and live birth. The ideal time to freeze your eggs is in your 20’s or early 30’s. After the age of 37, both the quantity and quality of eggs decline rapidly, so after age 37, egg freezing is not usually recommended. At LifeQuest, we are very much aware of this window of opportunity, and only offer elective egg freezing to women between the ages of 19 and 37.
Aging is an inevitable process. So if the time is right for you, it makes sense to start your family during your most fertile years. However, if the time is not yet right, egg freezing technology offers a chance to preserve your fertility, opening up new windows of opportunity for conceiving a child later on, when you are ready.
What is the first consultation like?
At the first consultation, which takes about 30 minutes, Jocelyn Smith, the HERS coordinator and a Registered Nurse, will tell you everything you need to know to make an informed decision about going through LifeQuest's egg freezing program.
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