Recently, I was talking with a friend who was having trouble deciding when she wanted children. She and her husband were mostly sure that they wanted kids at some point, but they were both just settling down into their careers and didn’t think they were ready to handle jobs and kids. She brought up egg banking as an idea even though she has at least a decade or so before she would be considered an older mother. However, it made me think. Would egg banking be a good idea even if she had children naturally later in life? Also, do frozen eggs have an expiration date?
The fear of being infertile is not uncommon among women, especially women who would love nothing more than to be a mother at some point in their lives. However, since infertility is occurring at an alarming rate these days, it’s not abnormal for women to take measures to insure that they will be able to have a child in the future should they ever become infertile later in their lives due to age.
The interesting thing about egg banking however, is that many women who do bank their eggs don’t actually intend to use them in the future. A study done at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium found that women think very positively about egg banking, even though a majority of women say they don’t intend to use them.
The study was a follow-up survey of 140 women who considered egg banking between 2009 and 2011, and the questionnaire used asked the women to reflect on their relational and reproductive circumstances that led them to consider egg banking as well as their attitudes about egg banking and their reproductive plans for the future.
The results of the questionnaire showed that 34.1% of the women said that they believed they would never have to use the cryopreserved eggs, also called oocytes. 75% of the women said that they had anticipated the need for the preserved oocytes, but later considered themselves less likely to actually use the preserved eggs at some point in the future. Despite the fact that most women thought that they would never use their preserved oocytes or later believed that preserving them was unnecessary, 96.2% said that the experience was positive and that they would do it again. 70% of the women said that they wished they had preserved their eggs at an earlier age. The mean age for the study group was 37 years old. Also, almost every women in the study said that they would definitely recommend the procedure to a friend.
Through my research, I was also able to answer some of my questions. It looks like egg banking is a good idea even if my friend never actually got around to using her cryopreserved eggs. Also, frozen eggs don’t actually expire, but if they’re banked later than 42, your chances of becoming pregnant sharply decline.
- New York Medical College (2013, May 29). Researchers shed new light on egg freezing success rates. ScienceDaily.
- European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (2013, July 9). Egg banking for social reasons: Women feel positive about it, even though many believe they will never use the eggs they have stored. ScienceDaily.