Wednesday 21 November 2018

Women being sold a 'false notion' if they freeze their eggs close to the age of 40 - Irish fertility expert

Couple in consultation at IVF clinic talking to doctor. Picture posed
Couple in consultation at IVF clinic talking to doctor. Picture posed
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A fertility expert has said women are being given a “false notion” if they're advised to freeze their eggs close to the age of 40.

Egg freezing (oocyte cryopreservation) is a medical procedure where a number of a woman’s eggs are extracted from the ovaries and frozen for use in the future.

Fertility declines at a more accelerated pace after the age of 35, and while older women have options available to them, egg freezing isn't the 'insurance policy' that it has been marketed as.

Fewer than five per cent of women are able to have an IVF baby with their own eggs past the age of 44.

But some middle-aged women are still freezing their eggs as a “back-up plan”.

Dr Phil Boyle from Neo Fertility in Dublin tells Independent.ie: “Most people would agree it’s a bad idea doing egg freezing any time close to 40.”

“The numbers with egg freezing alone are quite depressing. You could have the false notion that you’re freezing your egg and you have a high chance of pregnancy.”

But he added: “The percentages are a bit depressing. The challenge is [for a clinic] to say, here’s what the figures are.”

Roughly one in every four fresh IVF cycles results in a live birth.

However, Dr Boyle adds: “If you subdivide that into the over 40 age group, it’s coming in at 13 per cent.”

Meanwhile, Richard Anderson, professor of clinical reproductive science at the University of Edinburgh, told the Daily Mail today: “The chances of having a baby from egg-freezing in a woman’s late forties are very slim and clinics need to be clear that they are acting in a responsible manner.”

“It is difficult to see how someone freezing their eggs close to their 50th birthday is advisable, and it is absolutely essential that women doing so have full knowledge of the likely success rates.”

With more Irish women delaying having a baby and being at increased risk of fertility problems, Dr Boyle led an important new peer-reviewed study which offers fresh hope for older women experiencing fertility problems.

The study highlighted how restorative reproductive medicine (RRM), is opening the doors to parenthood for couples even when IVF has failed for them. The study highlighted how one in three couples who completed Dr Boyle's form of RRM, gave birth to full-term healthy babies, despite having two or more failed IVF treatments.

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