Freezing eggs 'huge gamble' say doctors as they urge women to consider all options
Women who freeze their eggs for lifestyle reasons are being warned by doctors of the ‘huge gamble’ they take with their futures.
In a joint statement from The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the British Fertility Society, women are being warned about the low success rates and urged, if they want children, to try for them before they turn 35.
‘The group I worry about are women who are healthy and want to have kids, but do it later,’ writes Professor Bill Ledger, a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Sheffield University and a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
‘The image that’s portrayed [of freezing eggs] is that a woman in her late 20s or early 30s can establish a relationship 10 or 15 years later and then take the eggs out of the freezer, fertilise them with the partner’s sperm and have the baby. That’s the dream.
‘The central issue is that it doesn’t work very well. The chance of a baby from a frozen egg with vitrification is less than 6% per egg. By doing the egg freezing for social reasons, they are taking a huge gamble for their future.’
While egg-freezing is still not a common procedure for women in the UK, it is nonetheless on the rise, with 78 women choosing it for non-medical reasons in 2007, up more than 100% from 2006.
As well as the low success rates, Ledger warns that babies that are born from frozen eggs may not be as healthy as those conceived from fresh eggs, and said doctors should be ‘very careful about performing medical procedures on healthy people’.
Professor of reproductive medicine at University College Hospital London, Melanie Davies, adds: ‘It’s still early days to be reliant on this technique and at the moment it should not be used for women who want to guarantee a family in the future.
‘The message has to be that your best chance of having a baby is doing it naturally when you are under 35.’
Have you had your eggs frozen, or do you know someone who has? Leave your stories and comments below…