NPR is running a typical media hype story on oocyte preservation (egg freezing), featuring the standard happy family photo with their “miracle” baby born after thawing and fertilizing a cryopreserved egg.
It’s a heartwarming story and a pretty photo, but far from a complete picture of what women need to know about this still experimental fertility preserving procedure. Nowhere does the article tell women the actual success rates of occyte cryo-preservation.
So before you run out to freeze your eggs, know this – the chance of having a pregnancy after egg freezing is less than a 50/50 shot – at most about 39%, according to the latest data. That’s about the same odds you’d have if you just wait till 40 to try to get pregnant on your own. In addition, while somewhere between 1 and 2 thousand infants have been born using the technology, we do not yet have data on their long term outcomes.
At costs of over $10,00 a freeze cycle, with many women undergoing multiple cycles to get enough eggs to make the odds worth taking, this is one very expensive roll of the dice. Before considering undergoing the procedure, ask the center you are considering using for their numbers, and be sure their oocyte cryo-preservation program is operating under and IRB-approved protocol.
Women making the decision whether or not to freeze their eggs need reliable and honest information, not hype. Save the family photos for Grandma – give women the facts.
- Oocyte Preservation – Ready or not, it’s here – TBTAM
- Vogue does a nice job covering the pros and cons of the issue
- ASRM guidelines for oocyte preservation
- ASRM – Essential information for informed consent for oocyte cryopreservation
*This blog post was originally published at The Blog That Ate Manhattan*