Fertility experts found that delaying motherhood may have dire consequences on the baby, although health professionals had long recommend women to freeze their eggs in their youth if they want to have healthier babies later in life.
Cryptopreservation, or keeping under subzero conditions human tissue or cells that may degrade over time, is a widespread practice among women that do not plan to give up their careers in return for maternity or are simply undecided.
High-profile companies such as Google and Apple cover the expenses for the procedure just to keep their female employees busy longer at their office desks. Yet, the recent research suggests that the process itself damages the egg cells, which may reduce the chances of a woman to become a mother.
A group of experts from the Centre for Human Reproduction in NYC sifted through clinical data from eight U.S. fertility clinics on the rate of success of IVF cycles. Researchers found that nine of ten women who underwent IVF may not have a baby because their egg cells were damaged by freezing or thawing during the cryptopreservation process.
On the other hand, study authors admitted that the findings may not be entirely accurate because they weren’t adjusted for age since that piece of information on women was confidential. Yet, researchers caution that the freezing process may alter women’s eggs and drastically reduce their chances of having a child.
“Egg quality may be negatively affected by cryopreservation and thawing,”
concluded Dr Vitaly Kushnir, one of the senior authors of the research.
Researchers explained that if you choose to freeze eggs in case there is a cancer diagnosis that may leave you without any viable egg cells, cryptopreservation is the best method out there. But if you freeze the egg cells just because you want to postpone maternity, you may learn the hard way that there are higher chances of having a baby with a “fresh” egg than with a frozen one.
Study authors also recommend doctors to counsel their female patients in their fertility years on the chances of becoming mothers through cryptopreservation.
Furthermore, the procedure is not something we may call a success when we look at the numbers. For instance, in the U.K, there are 18,000 eggs stored in fertility banks. From those eggs, only 580 embryos were generated. Of those embryos, only 160 were involved in an IVF process, and in the end only 20 successful births were recorded.
Yet, fertility experts are optimistic. Some of them believe that the method would become the best “birthday present choice” for women in their 30s.
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