Frozen egg birth rate remains low

Frozen egg birth rate remains low

On the rise … approximately three per cent of Australian babies born in 2009 were conceived with in vitro methods.WOMEN should not put off starting a family until their 40s in the belief they will simply be able to freeze their eggs and have them thawed later, a fertility specialist says.

Australian women are increasingly using assisted reproductive technology treatments, new health data has shown, but doctors warn that the chances of being able to achieve a live birth using a frozen egg were significantly less than from a frozen embryo.

About 3 per cent of Australian babies born in 2009 were conceived with in vitro methods, the 2012 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report says, but the odds of a live birth dropped dramatically for women in their 40s.

For Australian women aged 45 and over using their own eggs, one live delivery resulted from every 800 initiated cycles of IVF in 2009, compared with one live delivery from every four initiated cycles in women aged 25 to 34. Women undergoing assisted reproduction treatment using donor eggs were generally older, the report said, with the average age being 40.8 years.

Bronwyn Devine, from the Canberra Fertility Centre, said it was not really possible to ”buy time” by freezing a woman’s eggs when she was 30 and fertilising them a decade later as success rates were low.

”For years and years we have not got really good results from freezing eggs, whereas embryos survive very well,” she said. ”So if you take your eggs out at 30 and fertilise them you are buying time but if you are wanting to freeze your eggs at 30 and take them out at 40 because you are having a stellar career, you may as well just wait and try at 40.

”The number of pregnancies in the world is still very very low from freezing eggs. So we encourage women to consider using donor sperm and freeze embryos instead.”

Dr Devine said age was still crucial to a woman’s fertility. ”By the time women are in their 40s it’s extremely late in reality to get pregnant. The majority of women who come to me in their 40s will not get pregnant via IVF. There is a biological clock and it doesn’t matter how beautiful and young you look. You don’t make new eggs and your eggs age with you.”

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