Get all sides of the story. Learn what doctors, patients and society think of fertility treatments.
Why I’m Freezing My Eggs Spoiler: It’s not because I want children, necessarily
The Bold Italic
Considering that I’ve dated more 30-something-year-old men who act like teenage boys on a Rumspringa and have the same level of emotional intelligence, and that we live in a tech-heavy, engineer-dense city, I wanted to tell him that, yes, as a mostly straight woman, you could say it is a little hard to date in San Francisco.
Men in their fifties have reduced success in fertility treatment
The chance of success with fertility treatment using IVF or ICSI decreases if a man is over 51, according to a new study. The analysis, of nearly 5000 IVF/ICSI cycles, suggested that this was the case regardless of the woman's age. 'There may well be a public perception that male fertility is independent of age,' said Dr Guy Morris from the Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health (CRGH) in London, where the retrospective study was carried out. 'Stories of celebrity men fathering children into their 60s may give a skewed perspective on the potential risks of delaying fatherhood.'
Exposure to environmental air pollutants may decrease a woman's ovarian reserve, suggests a new study. 'Living in an area associated with high levels of air pollutants in our study increased the risk of severely reduced ovarian reserve by a factor of two or three,' said Professor Antonio La Marca from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Modena, Italy.
The U.S. birth rate is the lowest it’s been in 30 years. Millennials are waiting later than their Boomer and Gen X counterparts to have families for reasons running the gamut from financial to emotional. Instead of letting their fertility window determine timing for parenthood, some women are taking control by freezing their eggs.
Women find egg freezing emotionally challenging, DMU research finds
De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)
Research by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has shown that women who freeze their eggs are more likely to find the procedure emotionally challenging than other fertility patients. A paper recently published in Human Fertility by Dr Kylie Baldwin and Professor Lorraine Culley of the Centre for Reproduction Research at De Montfort University found that women who freeze their eggs find the procedure particularly emotionally challenging often due to the fact that they are undergoing the technology without the support of a partner.
Women in their 40s freeze their eggs for a reason (and it’s not stupidity)
The first official report on egg freezing in the UK shows that there has been a staggering increase – 460% – in women freezing their eggs since 2010. It also highlights that despite this big increase, egg-freezing cycles still remain a tiny 1.5% of fertility treatments carried out in the UK. Over the past two years, as part of my research into single women’s fertility options, I have met hundreds of women who are considering freezing their eggs, and spoken to them in detail about their thoughts, feelings and decision-making processes. Some of these women are indeed in their early thirties and are thinking proactively about their future and fertility. Not yet ready for motherhood, but keenly aware of their declining fertility, and often having witnessed friends who have struggled with trying to conceive, they choose to freeze their eggs now to give themselves the best possible chance of conception when the time is right to have a baby. They may well conceive naturally in the future and never need to use their frozen eggs, but nevertheless see the hefty price tag as an investment that will alleviate their concerns about childlessness. These women will be reassured by the HFEA’s advice to freeze eggs early. But they are the lucky ones, and they are in the minority. A far larger percentage of women coming to clinics are in their late thirties and early forties, the age at which the HFEA “caution against [egg freezing] being a sensible option”. Many of these women would happily have children tomorrow, if only they were in the right relationship, and cite the lack of eligible men as the primary reason why they want to freeze their eggs. For them, egg freezing is not a strategy to postpone motherhood, but rather the only option to preserve their remaining fertility. Generally well-educated, professional and highly intelligent, these women are aware that egg freezing offers them no guarantees of future motherhood, and while they may wishfully hope to beat the odds in the future, their egg-freezing decisions are not driven by irrationality or lack of information, but rather by a lack of alternative options. In addition to these complicated social realities, the 10-year limit for storing frozen eggs, as the report acknowledges, is another factor women must consider. The current law means that younger women who freeze their eggs will not necessarily extend their options beyond their natural fertility span, and may have to discard their eggs before they are ready to use them. This clearly poses a paradox between the clinically and socially optimum time to freeze eggs, and experts are currently campaigning to extend the storage limit. Indeed, in a House of Lords debate on Thursday, Baroness Deech noted that the 10-year rule for eggs is discriminatory since sperm can be frozen for up to 55 years, and added that it would be a pity to tell women approaching the end of their storage limit: “Do not wait for Mr Right; Mr Average will have to do.” She is right to argue that 10 years is an arbitrary limit that may not give women sufficient time, especially if they have frozen their eggs early. But I also worry that an extension could open the floodgates to ever-younger women being targeted by egg-freezing companies, as is the case in the United States. While egg freezing is often discussed in terms of fertility empowerment, it is important to note who stands to profit from women’s growing reproductive anxieties.
I.V.F. Does Not Raise Breast Cancer Risk, Study Shows
Women undergoing in vitro fertilization have long worried that the procedure could raise their risk for breast cancer. After all, the treatment requires temporarily increasing levels of certain sex hormones to five or 10 times the normal. Two of those hormones, estrogen and progesterone, can affect the course of certain kinds of breast cancer. A series of studies over the past decade suggested that these former patients may have little to worry about.
What Fertility Patients Should Know About Egg Freezing
New York Times
The failure of systems used to store frozen eggs and embryos at two fertility clinics has rattled people who count on such clinics to help them realize their hopes of having children. But the breakdowns at clinics in Cleveland and San Francisco, each apparently involving the temperature or level of liquid nitrogen in one storage tank, have damaged at least some eggs and embryos belonging to potentially hundreds of people. At a time when egg freezing is increasing swiftly — some Silicon Valley companies now tout it as a perk for their employees — the incidents raise questions about what to look for and ask if you are considering taking that step. Here is a basic guide:
Trying to get pregnant is no easy feat — and for women struggling with fertility, the process can come with a side of stress, anxiety or just feeling like a failure. Yet two recent studies have found that a yoga practice might help women cope. Before you roll your eyes and write this off as another hokey study, take a look at the research: One study, conducted in India, took a closer look at the impact of yoga on women who had undergone one unsuccessful round of IVF treatment. Over 100 women preparing for a frozen embryo transfer were randomly selected into one of two groups: one group didn't practice yoga, while the other group did three months of yoga asanas (exercises) and pranayma (breathing exercises). After the procedures, researchers found that 63 percent of women who practiced yoga became pregnant, while 43 percent of women in the control group (who did not do yoga) became pregnant.
Lots of Successful Women Are Freezing Their Eggs. But It May Not Be About Their Careers.
New York Times
“Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career,” announced the headline of a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story in 2014. It was the year that Facebook and then Apple began offering egg freezing as a benefit to employees. Hundreds of think pieces followed, debating the costs and benefits of “postponing procreation” in the name of professional advancement. In the years since, many more women across the world have frozen their eggs. Many are highly educated. But the decision may have very little to do with work, at least according to a new study. In interviews with 150 American and Israeli women who had undergone one cycle, career planning came up as the primary factor exactly two times. Instead, most women focused on another reason: they still hadn’t found a man to build a family with. “The stereotype that these ambitious career women are freezing their eggs for the purposes of their career — that’s really inaccurate at the present time,” said Marcia Inhorn, a medical anthropologist from Yale University, and one of the authors of the study, which was presented Monday at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s conference in Spain.
I’m 34, Married, and Healthy. Here’s Why I’m Freezing My Eggs.
There are thousands of dollars of drugs sitting on my coffee table. Nine-hundred units of Follistim, 450 IU of Menopur, Azithromycin tablets, one prefilled Ovidrel syringe, an EpiPen-like autoinjector, a ziplock bag of syringes, alcohol swabs, a hazardous materials container. The first three nights of medications I’ll need to inject myself with in order to freeze my eggs. But now the question that I found so ignorant coming from other people is creeping into my own head: Why are you doing this? I had always assumed only two types of women freeze their eggs: single women who were either doing it as a plan B in case they found Mr. Right "too late" to conceive naturally or who planned to be single mothers; and women with a health condition that threatened the function of their reproductive organs. But I’m a healthy, married 34-year-old woman. I am living my plan A.
A new study of fertility and diet Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School have just published a review of past studies that examined the impact of diet on fertility. Here’s what they found. For women trying to become pregnant naturally (without “assistive reproductive technologies” such as in vitro fertilization), the following vitamins and nutrients were linked to positive effects on fertility: folic acid vitamin B12 omega-3 fatty acids healthy diets (such as the Mediterranean diet) On the other hand, antioxidants, vitamin D, dairy products, soy, caffeine, and alcohol appeared to have little or no effect on fertility in this review. Trans fat and “unhealthy diets” (those “rich in red and processed meats, potatoes, sweets, and sweetened beverages”) were found to have negative effects. Studies of men have found that semen quality improves with healthy diets (as described above), while the opposite has been linked with diets high in saturated or trans fat. Alcohol and caffeine appeared to have little effect, good or bad. Importantly, semen quality is not a perfect predictor of fertility, and most studies did not actually examine the impact of paternal diet on the rate of successful pregnancies. For couples receiving assisted reproductive technologies, women may be more likely to conceive with folic acid supplements or a diet high in isoflavones (plant-based estrogens with antioxidant activity), while male fertility may be aided by antioxidants.
Just 45 minutes of yoga a week could help women relax and increase their chance of having a baby, scientists have suggested. In one of the largest controlled yoga studies to date, US experts found that just six weeks of the ancient practice dramatically lowered anxiety levels for women. Many studies have shown previously that staying relaxed helps couples to conceive while,stress can harm chances of getting pregnant.
Sleeve Gastrectomy for Obesity in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: a Pilot Study Evaluating Weight Loss and Fertility Outcomes
William Beaumont Army Medical Center
PURPOSE: Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder associated with obesity and infertility. Gastric bypass has been shown to be effective in treating these symptoms. However, the efficacy of vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) has not been studied in the PCOS population. This study analyzed weight loss and fertility outcomes of VSG in this population.
Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of Fertilityblend: a nutritional supplement for improving fertility in women.
Department of Gynecology/Obstetrics, Stanford University School of Medicine
PURPOSE: To determine the impact of nutritional supplementation on female fertility. METHODS: A double blind, placebo-controlled study of the effects of FertilityBlend for Women, a proprietary nutritional supplement containing chasteberry, green tea, L-arginine, vitamins (including folate) and minerals, on progesterone level, basal body temperature, menstrual cycle length, pregnancy rate and side-effects. RESULTS: Ninety-three (93) women, aged 24-42 years, who had tried unsuccessfully to conceive for six to 36 months, completed the study. After three months, the FertilityBlend (FB) group (N = 53) demonstrated a trend toward increased mean mid-luteal progesterone (P(ml)), but among women with basal pretreatment P(ml) < 9 ng/ml, the increase in progesterone was highly significant. The average number of days with luteal-phase basal temperatures over 98 degrees F increased significantly in the FB group. Both short and long cycles (< 27 days or > 32 days pretreatment) were normalized in the FB group. The placebo group (N = 40) did not show any significant changes in these parameters. After three months, 14 of the 53 women in the FB group were pregnant (26%) compared to four of the 40 women in the placebo group (10%; p = 0.01). Three additional women conceived after six months on FB (32%). No significant side-effects were noted. CONCLUSION: Nutritional supplements could provide an alternative or adjunct to conventional fertility therapies.
What factors affect egg freezing success rates? When you start looking at the numbers, the first step is to make sure you know which success metric you’re looking at. Successful thawing rates, fertilization rates, pregnancy rates, and live birth rates are all very different things. All of these data points are useful, but it’s important to compare apples with apples. Since the main goal of egg freezing is to hopefully come home with a healthy baby when it’s time to start your family, we’ll look at live birth rates. Even restricting the definition to live birth rates varies on how that number is calculated. The numbers you see published can have a huge range, anywhere from 2% to 40% or more. This is usually because they are measuring different things. The commonly seen 2% to 12% success rate often used to discredit egg freezing is per egg retrieved, using the older freezing methods. Using new, advanced vitrification freezing methods gives numbers more like 4% to 14% per egg retrieved. When you multiply those percentages by the number of eggs frozen, the picture starts to look a lot rosier. There are also many other variables which can make a huge difference in the live-birth success rates: Age at time of egg freezing and number of eggs frozen As with most things fertility-related, age is at the top of the list. In short, the younger a woman is when she freezes her eggs, the higher the likelihood that using those eggs will result in pregnancy and live birth. This is because egg quality drops as women age, and young women in their 20s are more likely to produce a larger number of higher quality eggs in a given egg freezing cycle. That means that when it’s time to use the eggs, there are more chances for success. No matter where a woman is in her reproductive years, the number of eggs she chooses to freeze clearly affects the final chances of pregnancy, by virtue of simple math: more eggs = more opportunities, and the chance for doctors to choose the highest quality, strongest embryos to transfer.
The 10-Year Baby Window That Is the Key to the Women’s Pay Gap
New York Times
Women who have their first child before 25 or after 35 eventually close the salary divide with their husbands. It’s the years in between that are most problematic, research shows. Today, married couples in the United States are likely to have similar educational and career backgrounds. So while the typical husband still earns more than his wife, spouses have increasingly similar incomes. But that changes once their first child arrives. Immediately after the first birth, the pay gap between spouses doubles, according to a recent study — entirely driven by a drop in the mother’s pay. Men’s wages keep rising. The same pattern shows up in a variety of research. But the recent study reveals a twist. When women have their first child between age 25 and 35, their pay never recovers, relative to that of their husbands. Yet women who have their first baby either before 25 or after 35 — before their careers get started or once they’re established — eventually close the pay gap with their husbands. The years between 25 to 35 happen to be both the prime career-building years and the years when most women have children.
Oocyte cryopreservation provided the greatest improvement in probability of live birth compared with no action (51.6% vs. 21.9%) when performed at age 37 years. The highest probability of live birth was seen when oocyte cryopreservation was performed at ages <34 years (>74%), although little benefit over no action was seen at ages 25–30 years (2.6%–7.1% increase). Oocyte cryopreservation was most cost-effective at age 37 years, at $28,759 per each additional live birth in the oocyte cryopreservation group. When the probability of marriage was included, oocyte cryopreservation resulted in little improvement in live birth rates.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but do put some in a deep freeze - it’s the newest conundrum facing women. Freezing eggs is one of the hottest topics among women who are in the prime of their fertility, but aren’t sure that “now” is the right time for motherhood. By freezing eggs, women can take at least part of the pressure off of pursuing a career, navigating an illness or finding the right partner before starting a family. Major corporations like Apple and Facebook are now willing to cover the costs of egg freezing for female employees, and fertility specialists throughout the country are heralding the move as a supportive one for women.
EggBanxx estimates that 76,000 women will be freezing their eggs by 2018
Egg-freezing is taking off among professional women. Doctors say they’ve seen more interest in the procedure since Apple and Facebook announced last year they’d cover egg-freezing in their employee health plans, and younger women are beginning to ask about how they can preserve their fertility. In 2009, only about 500 women froze their eggs—in 2013, almost 5,000 did, according to data obtained from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART.) Fertility marketer EggBanxx estimates that 76,000 women will be freezing their eggs by 2018.
From Embryos to Adults: A DOHaD Perspective on In Vitro Fertilization and Other Assisted Reproductive Technologies
Human in vitro fertilization (IVF) as a treatment for infertility is regarded as one of the most outstanding accomplishments of the 20th century, and its use has grown dramatically since the late 1970s. Although IVF is considered safe and the majority of children appear healthy, reproductive technologies have been viewed with some skepticism since the in vitro environment deviates substantially from that in vivo. This is increasingly significant because the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) hypothesis has illuminated the sensitivity of an organism to its environment at critical stages during development, including how suboptimal exposures restricted specifically to gamete maturation or the preimplantation period can affect postnatal growth, glucose metabolism, fat deposition, and vascular function. Today, some of the physiological metabolic phenotypes present in animal models of IVF have begun to emerge in human IVF children, but it remains unclear whether or not in vitro embryo manipulation will have lasting health consequences in the offspring. Our expanding knowledge of the DOHaD field is fueling a paradigm shift in how disease susceptibility is viewed across the life course, with particular emphasis on the importance of collecting detailed exposure information, identifying biomarkers of health, and performing longitudinal studies for any medical treatment occurring during a developmentally vulnerable period. As IVF use continues to rise, it will be highly valuable to incorporate DOHaD concepts into the clinical arena and future approaches to public health policy.
The U.S. birth rate hit an all-time low in 2016 as the number of women under age 30 having children fell. Yet, more women over 30, especially between 40 and 44 years old, are having children. The changing cultural norms, trends in postponing parenthood, and increasingly sophisticated fertility treatments may be creating a misconception — one that’s devastating for many — that becoming a mother later in life is easy. By pulling together several expert interviews, a new Healthline survey of 1,214 people, and Healthline’s proprietary search and social data, we’ve developed a comprehensive overview of the current fertility landscape. In this report, Healthline explores how American parenthood is drastically changing — and how it will continue to evolve over the next few years.
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
Fertility can be negatively affected by obesity. In women, early onset of obesity favours the development of menses irregularities, chronic oligo-anovulation and infertility in the adult age. Obesity in women can also increase risk of miscarriages and impair the outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies and pregnancy, when the body mass index exceeds 30 kg/m. The main factors implicated in the association may be insulin excess and insulin resistance. These adverse effects of obesity are specifically evident in polycystic ovary syndrome. In men, obesity is associated with low testosterone levels. In massively obese individuals, reduced spermatogenesis associated with severe hypotestosteronemia may favour infertility. Moreover, the frequency of erectile dysfunction increases with increasing body mass index.
Inability to find males who will commit to a relationship is the most common reason for procedure, rather than career, finds study
Men are to blame for women freezing their eggs: Inability to find males who will commit to a relationship is the most common reason for procedure, rather than career, finds study Focusing on work is the least common reason women undergo the procedure Most women who freeze their eggs are single, divorced or separated Others have partners who work abroad or are choosing to be single mothers Around 76,000 egg-freezing procedures are due to take place in the US this year Since 2010, at least 471 babies have been born from frozen eggs in the UK
In the US, An average egg freezing cycle, which consists of hormone stimulation, egg retrieval, and lab processing, costs around $16,000. Your clinic will likely charge you $11,000 and the medication will cost around $5,000. Below are average costs broken down by city, including medication and 5 years of storage.
This report captures the treatment burden to the patient (the number of cycles) as well as the best outcome (delivery of a healthy child) by tracking outcomes over time for an individual, accounting for both fresh and frozen embryo transfers.