April 17, 2024

Too early to offer egg-freezing, say experts

Despite claims by a number of clinics that egg freezing is a viable option for women who want to defer childbearing, the peak IVF body in the United States has knocked the idea on the head at the annual American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference. The ASRM has warned that the live birth rate could be as low as 2% per thawed egg.

Dr Marc Fritz, of the ASRM’s practice committee, says: “Egg-freezing is still an experimental procedure. It should not be marketed for the purposes of defying the consequences of reproductive ageing in healthy women. One concern is that having frozen their eggs women may unfortunately think they have ensured their future fertility. Existing medical evidence simply does not justify that. Women contemplating the use of egg-freezing technologies need to receive extensive counselling to help them make a fully informed decision.”

However, Dr Gillian Lockwood, a prominent British IVF doctor, defended the right of women to try their luck. “The vast majority of women who come to me for egg freezing long to be in a relationship where they have a baby in the old fashioned way and it’s all champagne and roses. But they have sometimes just been left by a commitment-phobic man at the age of 37, have been looking after elderly parents or they are part of a couple that needs two salaries to get a mortgage. They say the fact they know there’s a chance of success using frozen eggs means they are not quite so desperate to get a man and on a first date drag him down to a clinic and ask him for his views on fatherhood.”