The goal of fertility preservation is to pause the biological clock. Female fertility begins declining in the early 20’s but conception rates remain high into the 30’s. After age 35, the decline accelerates to reach nearly zero pregnancy potential by the time the woman reaches age 45. In addition, women over 35 have an increased risk of miscarriage and/or genetic abnormalities in their children as a result of age-dependent changes in egg quality. Therefore, the best age to preserve eggs is between 30-40 and optimally between 32-38. When a woman uses her frozen eggs in the future, even if a number of years have passed, both the pregnancy rates and the incidence of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities should be based on the age of the woman when the eggs were frozen, not her age when she uses the eggs.
Many women delay family building while seeking a life partner and many others due to educational, career or economic considerations. Based on the age related decline in fertility, this delay can put them at risk of infertility and increases the risks in pregnancies that are conceived at an older age. While the decline in reproductive potential cannot be reversed, freezing of eggs at a younger reproductive age may, in effect, put the eggs in ‘suspended animation’ until the woman is ready for conception. While there certainly can be no guarantee of a successful pregnancy, using cryopreserved eggs may provide the potential for insurance against the biological clock and the loss of reproductive potential. Like any insurance, one may never need to use it, but it can provide some degree of peace of mind knowing it is there if needed.