Dr. Walid Saleh of CRE (previously SIRM-Dallas) on Egg Freezing

The proverbial “biological clock” is not just a myth. A woman’s egg reserve does decline with age, especially after the age of 35.

LaMarca et al. Human Reproduction Update  2009

In addition to the decrease in AMH, the quality of those eggs or DNA stability also decreases. In fact, even in a 30 year old fertile woman, only 1/3 of her eggs are chromosomally normal. This number decreases to less than 1/10 over the age of 40. While we cannot slow reproductive aging, we can stop the biological clock and freeze a woman’s eggs for the future.

There are numerous reasons for a woman to preserve her fertility through egg freezing: fertility-threatening cancer treatment, postponement of childbearing for career purposes, lack of a suitable partner, and various other issues of timing and choice.

While freezing eggs is “easy”, most eggs do not survive traditional (slow) freezing techniques. This occurs because of 1) the low percentage of chromosomally normal eggs and 2) slow standard freezing techniques cause ice crystals that damage the egg DNA. Pregnancy rates for women using frozen/thawed eggs have historically been less than 5% for each individual egg frozen.

A new method pioneered by SIRM uses ultra-fast freezing (vitrification), which markedly improves survival of eggs. This method freezes the eggs faster than ice crystals can form and avoids damage to the egg DNA.  Also, another SIRM breakthrough called Comparative Genomic Hybridization (CGH) allows DNA testing of the eggs prior to freezing. This ensures chromosomally competent eggs are the ones frozen, not a mixed batch of unidentified normal/or abnormal eggs.

Think of it as a game of cards.  Saving a dozen random cards to find out in your late forties than none are “aces” would be quite devastating.  Instead, wouldn’t it make more sense to check the cards first to make sure we have banked aces for the future?  Wouldn’t that allow real peace of mind?  With this new method, the live birth rate increases to 60% when 2 embryos originating from chromosomally normal vitrified eggs are transferred.

Contact SIRM-Dallas at 972-566-6686 to schedule an egg freezing consultation.

Dr. Walid Saleh is a physician with CRE (previously SIRM-Dallas). Read other articles from Dr. Saleh on the ABC of infertility by clicking HERE.