SINGLE women who want a family one day are being warned not to leave it too late to freeze their eggs.
Researchers in New York found the average age of women seeking egg freezing for social reasons is between 37 and 39 - an age when eggs are rapidly deteriorating.
Evidence suggests women in the UK are of a similar age when they explore egg freezing for lifestyle reasons.
A new analysis of 26 studies also found women under 30 had far more success with frozen eggs than those who were older.
Fertility swiftly declines after the age of 35. In the UK, the success rate of a live birth for each IVF cycle falls to about 5pc for women over 42, compared to about 30% for a woman under 35.
Roger Lobo, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), said the new evidence, which is being presented at the ASRM conference in Orlando, showed the importance of not delaying motherhood.
He said: "ASRM considers elective egg freezing an experimental procedure with insufficient data on usage and outcomes to assure patients that it's a worthwhile undertaking.
"Despite increasing numbers of clinics offering the procedure and the significant media attention paid to it in recent years, women are not pursuing elective egg freezing at an age when it would be most likely to help them accomplish their fertility goals.
"It is apparent that patients need more education about their fertility at younger ages."
But Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility Services in Aldridge, near Birmingham, said the ASRM had long been anti-egg freezing for social reasons.
"They are right that egg freezing is not an option for many women in their late 30s when they've discovered Mr Right has turned out to be Mr Wrong, because it possibly is too late," she said.
"But we have to ask what the comparator is here.
"The comparator is how well will these women do with their own eggs in their early 40s?
"A 39-year-old frozen egg is going to do better in IVF than a 42-year-old fresh egg, because the drop off becomes so sharp during these years."
However, factors such as whether a woman smokes do have an impact.
"The women I see who are freezing for social reasons, their stories are very similar," she added.
"They have been in the same relationship since their late 20s/early 30s with a man they thought was going to be the father of their child.