To freeze or not to freeze, that is the question!
July 07, 2023

Many young women are now aware of the fact that ovaries age at a very different rate from the rest of their body. The bitter truth is there is very little correlation between their calendar age and their ovarian age. Even if they are 35 and in top physical condition with regular cycles, this still does not mean that their egg quality is enough for them to be able to make a baby. The problem is that they don’t know how fast their biological clock is ticking away!

Many young women are now exploring additional options, including that egg freezing and embryo freezing ( if they are married). But they're often not sure what is the right option for them. And the reality is that this is a very personal decision, that everyone needs to make for themselves. Think of it like creating an insurance policy or a safety net for yourself, where you're hedging your risks. The good news is that egg and embryo freezing is a relatively simple procedure, which only takes about 10 days, and you only need to come to the clinic about three or four times. And there are no medical risks associated with it because we use only natural hormones for helping you grow lots of eggs, so you don't need to worry about either short-term side effects or long-term side effects. The great thing is it gives you invaluable peace of mind, that in case you do not get pregnant in your own bedroom because your eggs have become too old, you always have a backup option, and you can use those embryos in the future when you are ready to have a baby.

The good news is that frozen eggs and embryos don’t have a shelf-life because they are stored at -196 C in liquid nitrogen, where all metabolic activity is suspended.

It’s best to create as many options as possible when you're young, rather than regret the fact that you failed to take advantage of this technology when you've become too old and you can't do anything about it , because the one thing we still can't reverse is the ovarian biological clock. Part of the problem is there are still a lot of misconceptions amongst women, and they feel that if celebrities can have babies at 45, then they don't need to worry. But the fact of the matter is that these women are having babies using donor eggs and that the biological clock is unforgiving and unique to the ovary.

Please make a well-informed decision to optimize their own happiness.

The only risk with the decision is financial and emotional. Financial because this is an expensive treatment, and you need to be prepared for this. The emotional risk is that even if you freeze your embryos, there's no guarantee that when you thaw and transfer them, they will become babies. This is why our recommendation for these women is to at least pool four top-quality blastocysts when they are less than 35, so that whenever they decide to use them - after two years or ten, if they transfer one single top-quality blastocyst at a time, even when they're 45, the cumulative conception rate with four transfers is better than 80%, which means they maximize their chances of having a healthy baby, without increasing the risk of not being able to have a baby at all because they've become too old.

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.