If there’s one phrase in the English language guaranteed to p*ss a woman off, it’s “biological clock”.
It’s that prickly term that rears its head in a snide remark from an aunt, or that nudge from a friend when you’re single and happen to no longer be 16.
But the modern day woman now has the option of freezing her eggs – meaning she has more autonomy when it comes to how, and when, she chooses to have a child.
The problem, however, is that for most of us, the idea of freezing our eggs is complex and scary. What does it involve? How much does it cost? How old are you meant to be when you do it?
Manman’s egg freezing journey. Post continues after video.
We asked Dr Lynn Burmeister, a fertility specialist with more than 20 years experience, our six most burning questions about freezing your eggs.
How old do you have to be to freeze your eggs?
Every woman is different so the best age to freeze eggs varies but as a general rule the best biological age to freeze your eggs is really about the same as the optimum age to have a baby: in your mid to late 20s.
Currently the average age of women proactively freezing their eggs is 35 and it is coming down as more women understand how to increase the chances of success.
Freezing eggs in your 20s may sound very young, but it offers you the best chance of success. Women are born with their entire supply of eggs — approximately 1 to 2 million at birth – unlike men, whose bodies create new sperm indefinitely. As you get older your egg count and quality of those remaining eggs decreases. At puberty you have 400,000 eggs and by age 40 only about 4 per cent of your eggs remain and continues to fall until menopause.
Listen to Rachel Corbett and Zoe Marshall discuss egg freezing on Before the Bump. Post continues after audio.
There isn’t technically an egg freezing age limit, but the treatment is most effective and valuable for younger women and best to do before you turn 35. As you become older it becomes more difficult for your ovaries to respond to the stimulation medication used during egg freezing and other fertility treatments, and you’re more likely to need multiple cycles to achieve a number of eggs that give you a good chance for pregnancy later.
What does the process look like?
The first step of this procedure involves going through a fertility and health assessment. The fertility assessment is to determine the quality and quantity of your eggs. Both assessments include pelvic ultrasounds and blood tests. The next steps are: