Data show that freezing your eggs now is no guarantee of a baby later

Research being presented today (Thursday 9 January) at the Fertility 2020 conference in Edinburgh suggests that although success rates using frozen eggs are increasing, people should know that freezing eggs is far from a guarantee that you will have a baby, later.

The team, led by Dr Meenakshi Choudhary at Newcastle Fertility Centre, analysed data from the UK’s fertility regulator, the HFEA, covering 15 years. The live birth rate using the patient’s own frozen eggs was 18%.

Although much of this is historical data and the techniques for using frozen eggs have considerably improved, the suggestion is that women seeking to preserve their fertility should be aware that they may have as little as a 1 in 5 chance of having a baby later.

Dr Choudhary said “We are seeing more and more patients seeking to preserve fertility for medical or social reasons. We wanted to know what to tell them about the potential for success with each option available to them. So we took the available data and found some significant results.”

Dr Mariano Mascarenhas from Leeds Fertility is presenting this research in Edinburgh today. He said “The chances of having a baby can improve if eggs are stored early in life. Unfortunately we couldn’t account for the age at which eggs are stored or when and how they were stored because that information isn’t available. So, for some patients the chances for success may be a bit higher.”

“Importantly, the live birth rate using frozen donor eggs was considerably higher, at 31%. Hence for young fit women with no fertility issue the success of egg freezing may ultimately be much greater.

“It is still important that we tell our patients about the risk that they may not have their much-wanted baby.”

Dr Jane Stewart, Chair, British Fertility Society said “Family planning is changing and people are waiting longer before having their first child. This has driven a rise in people freezing eggs for social, rather than medical, reasons. The new information presented today will help to inform the choices people make in the future.

“It is heartening to see the data on frozen donor eggs since this also encourages the development of egg banks rather than depending on fresh egg donation, potentially increasing the flexibility and efficiency of donation.  Although for many of our patients it is important to have a genetic relationship to their child egg donation remains an appropriate option in certain circumstances.