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Fertility, IVF and Egg Donation

Egg Freezing to Extend Fertility – Ready for Prime Time?

by on Jan.20, 2010, under Age and Fertility, Egg Banking, Egg Freezing, Fertility Preservation, Oocyte Cryopreservation

What are the issues with freezing eggs to preserve fertility?

Can you freeze eggs in an attempt to preserve fertility for a future pregnancy?

There is currently controversy about:

  • Who should be offered egg freezing?
  • What should women of different ages be told about their chances for having a baby with frozen eggs?
  • Are women who freeze eggs well informed about the chances to have a baby in the future with their frozen eggs?

What do recent studies show regarding pregnancy success rates using frozen eggs?

Egg freezing is relatively new

  • IVF with fresh eggs has reportedly resulted in the birth of about 3 million babies worldwide
  • IVF with frozen eggs has resulted in the birth of about 2000 babies worldwide
  • Studies continue to investigate whether the older “slow freezing” technology or the newer method of “vitrifying” eggs will be better

Older studies

  • Studies from the 1990’s to early 2000’s showed pregnancy success rates with frozen eggs of about 2% to 10% (live birth rate per embryo transfer cycle).

Recent studies

  • A recent study from an Italian group found similar fertilization and embryo development rates of vitrified versus fresh eggs. Vitrification is a relatively new freezing method.
    • This study involved 40 cycles in women (average age 35.5)
    • The ongoing pregnancy rate (beyond 12 weeks of pregnancy) with vitrified eggs was 30% per cycle.
    • This is a good rate since only 3 eggs can be inseminated under Italian law.
      • Study by L Rienzi, et al, Human Reproduction; January 2010

     

  • A 2009 study of 23 IVF cycles using frozen eggs (average age 31.5)
    • There were 14 pregnancies, 1 miscarriage and 13 ongoing pregnancies (57% per transfer)
      • Study by J Grifo and N Noyes, Fertility and Sterility; May 2009
  • A large multicenter Italian study compared IVF using fresh vs. frozen eggs
    • Italian IVF clinics tend to have lower success rates because only 3 eggs can be inseminated per cycle (by law)
    • They compared 2209 cycles with fresh eggs to 940 cycles with frozen eggs
    • The success rate was halved using frozen instead of fresh eggs
    • 748 thawing cycles in women less than 39 years old (average age 33.6)
      • Live birth rate per transfer with frozen eggs was 13.3% (age < 39)
    • 192 thawing cycles in women 39 and older (average age 40.5)
      • Live birth rate per transfer with frozen eggs was 8.1% (age 39+)
    • Study by A Borini et al, Fertility and Sterility; January 2010

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Richard Sherbahn

Richard Sherbahn, MD is a fertility doctor practicing in the Chicago, Illinois area. Connect with me on Google+


Welcome to the
Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago Blog

Richard Sherbahn, MD is a Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist.

Dr. Sherbahn founded the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago in 1997.

He will post regularly about fertility issues.

Dr. Richard Sherbahn
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