December 2022

How social freezing with IVF is the best option for those who choose to wait until 35 for children.

Many women are choosing to have children in their thirties and early forties. As women age their chances of a healthy and successful pregnancy decrease. If you know you want to have children but want to wait until your mid-thirties to early forties it is important to have a plan in place. Freezing your eggs can be the first step in this plan.


What is social egg freezing?

Social egg freezing is the freezing of your eggs for a later date. Women under the age of 38 are offered social egg freezing to preserve their healthy eggs so they can have children at a later date. 

There are a couple of important advantages for women who decide to freeze their eggs. If they decide to use their frozen eggs through IVF in the future they will have a high chance of having healthy children without genetic abnormalities. The quality of your eggs decreases as you age. Women who freeze their eggs when they are younger can use higher quality eggs than they may have currently when they decide they want children.

The process of social freezing begins with ovarian stimulation. The patient takes medications that stimulate the ovaries to release multiple eggs. The eggs are then retrieved and frozen. The patient maintains the right to use their eggs at the best time for them. [1]


social egg freezing


When should you freeze your eggs and how many should you freeze?

The question of when to freeze may be on many women’s minds when they are thinking of the prospect of freezing their eggs. There is no exact right time for anyone to freeze their eggs, cost and your lifestyle may change your timeline. Biologically the best time to freeze your eggs is when you are in your mid-twenties. Most women are the most fertile and have the highest quality eggs during this time. 

Cost-effectiveness should also be considered. If you choose to freeze your eggs at 25 and don’t use them until you are 38 this may not be the most cost-effective choice. Paying to keep your eggs frozen for more than ten years isn’t an option for many women. Studies have shown that women who freeze their eggs around age 37 have success with live births and cost-effectiveness. It is important to think of your life trajectory and consider the best timing for you as that is what matters most.

The dilemma of how many eggs to freeze is a common one many women face. Many clinics recommend freezing over twenty eggs. This may mean going through the procedure more than one time. Prediction models state women younger than 38 who have at least 20 frozen eggs are 75% more likely to have at least one successful pregnancy. Your doctors may recommend having more eggs than you may need to be frozen. It is important to follow your doctor’s recommendation to have the best chance of having a successful pregnancy later. [2]


What is the success of using IVF with your frozen eggs?

IVF will be used with your frozen eggs to fertilize them and then transfer the fertilized embryo. Having frozen eggs means a higher likelihood of having healthy eggs for IVF. Women who choose to undergo IVF with no previously frozen eggs can only use the eggs their body is producing currently. IVF can help, but IVF isn’t a sure solution for many women in their mid-thirties to early forties when it comes to having a successful pregnancy. 

Some studies have shown that there is no large change in the live-birth rate for those who use fresh eggs or frozen eggs with IVF. Using frozen eggs does limit the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome which can happen when taking ovarian stimulation hormones for IVF. Neither frozen nor fresh eggs are essentially better than the other. Freezing your eggs is still a great option for women who want to be certain they will have access to healthy eggs if they decide they want to have children. [3]



[1] Petropanagos A, Cattapan A, Baylis F, Leader A. Social egg freezing: risk, benefits and other considerations. CMAJ. 2015 Jun 16;187(9):666-669. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.141605. Epub 2015 Apr 13. PMID: 25869870; PMCID: PMC4467930.
[2] Anna-Lena Wennberg (2020) Social freezing of oocytes: a means to take control of your fertility, Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 125:2, 95-98, DOI: 10.1080/03009734.2019.1707332
[3] Shi Y, Sun Y, Hao C, Zhang H, Wei D, Zhang Y, Zhu Y, Deng X, Qi X, Li H, Ma X, Ren H, Wang Y, Zhang D, Wang B, Liu F, Wu Q, Wang Z, Bai H, Li Y, Zhou Y, Sun M, Liu H, Li J, Zhang L, Chen X, Zhang S, Sun X, Legro RS, Chen ZJ. Transfer of Fresh versus Frozen Embryos in Ovulatory Women. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jan 11;378(2):126-136. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1705334. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2021 Nov 4;385(19):1824. PMID: 29320646.