Egg freezing's on the rise, but when's a good time do it?

Human egg freezing is becoming more widespread as a way for women to buy time while they focus on their careers or wait for the right partner, but when's a good time to do it?

Dr. Anthony Cheung says freezing eggs can buy women time, but it may take several tries before it works

Human egg freezing is becoming more mainstream as more women focus on their careers or wait for the right partner.

Human egg freezing is becoming more widespread as a way for women to buy time while they focus on their careers or wait for the right partner, but when's a good time to do it?

Jamie Moon, from Richmond, has been pondering the issue. The 28-year-old from Richmond says she wants to have children, but both her and her partner's careers have only just begun.

"All I can feel is a ticking time clock," she told B.C. Almanac's Gloria Macarenko. "Everyone's saying, 'Oh no, you need to start having children now. You can't wait until you're in your 30s, you'll have problems.'"

Obviously every woman is different, so the question of the right age to freeze your eggs depends on each woman's body and fertility. However, Dr. Anthony Cheung with Grace Fertility Centre in Vancouver suggests anytime before 35 years old is a fairly safe bet.

"From 20 to 30 years old, even though it's a 10-year gap, the chance of losing the eggs quickly is really not much," he said. "The analogy I would use would be like driving your car on flat land. From 30 to 34, 35, there's a gentle decline, and from 35 and upward, there's a more rapid cliff going downwards."

Egg freezing is expensive and can come with a number of health risks. And while the ability to buy time can be appealing, Cheung says those considering egg freezing should also realize it may take many tries before pregnancy happens.    

"We cannot expect necessarily, from the one freezing cycle, that you could necessarily have all the insurance, all the eggs that would be available, to give you the fertilization and the pregnancy that you want," he said.

"I want to make sure that people don't get the false impression that one cycle, you're done, and you can then pursue your career and then pursue other things and you can have your pregnancy later on. It may not be."

To hear the full interview with Anthony Cheung, click on the audio labelled: The risks and successes of egg freezing.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.