New breakthrough means healthy women can freeze eggs and choose when to have baby
Women will soon be able to freeze their eggs allowing them to delay motherhood and have a healthy baby when they choose.
Two leading fertility clinics in the UK will this month launch an egg-freezing service permitting women to decide the most appropriate time for them to start a family.
Until recently the service was only available to cancer patients who were about to undergo chemotherapy and would be left infertile.
Doctors had previously feared that since eggs were often damaged in the freezing process, healthy women may postpone pregnancy only to discover their eggs had not survived.
Now however, a technique known as vitrification has significantly improved the success rate. Water is taken from the eggs and they are frozen quickly in liquid nitrogen. This prevents the formation of crystals, which can cause damage.
The two clinics offering the service are Care Fertility which has ten clinics in the UK and the British Fertility Centre in London. The cost of the service will be between £2,500 and £3,000 per IVF cycle, in which one egg is frozen.
Dr Simon Fishel, managing director of Care Fertility said: ‘With this new technology, it might make sense for women in their twenties to have their own bank of eggs stored if they are not considering having a family until their late thirties.’
However Josephine Quintavalle, from Comment on Reproductive Ethics, responded: ‘Fertility treatment should be for people with genuine fertility problems. IVF is not the most desirable way to make children and one should not do it unless it’s really necessary. It’s stressful for everyone involved.’