A comprehensive scientific review of the growing practice of "social" egg freezing produces 12 clear recommendations for women in their 20s and 30s
Published: Mar 12, 2018
MONTREAL, March 12, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - In the March issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JOGC), the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS) and Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (SOGC) released guidelines on the use of egg freezing in response to a trend among young women to freeze their eggs to preserve their fertility.
In Canada, the average age at which women have their first child is increasing and more than half of all births now occur in women over the age of 30. The postponement of parenthood has increased the probability that women may reach an age at which the quality and quantity of their eggs make natural conception challenging. As a result, many women are consulting physicians to learn about egg freezing.
"What has been called 'social' egg freezing has sparked controversy in recent years as companies like Facebook and Apple announced new benefits to their female employees giving them the opportunity to freeze their eggs if they elect to postpone attempting conception," says Mark Evans, Executive Director of CFAS.
Through the CARTR-BORN database, CFAS is able to track outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies. According to Dr. Jason Min, President of CFAS, "The number of social egg freezing cycles has been increasing each year since 2013 and now approaches 2% of all IVF cycles performed in Canada."
While the overall numbers are small, CFAS and SOGC expect that the trend will continue and believe it important that women have the best available information when planning for pregnancy, particularly when this involves the use of assisted reproductive technologies like egg freezing. The guideline sets out a series of 12 recommendations that address issues like optimal age, risks and benefits, and the likelihood of success.
"On average 80-90% of eggs survive the thaw, 70-80% fertilize and only a subset of embryos will result in a live birth," says Dr. Neal Mahutte, Chair of the CFAS Clinical Practice Guideline Committee. "There is no doubt that the age at which a woman freezes her eggs and the number of eggs frozen impact IVF success rates. However, women undergoing social egg freezing need to understand that what they are preserving is a chance to have a future child with their own eggs and that it is not a guarantee."
The recommendations were developed by a joint CFAS-SOGC committee, which conducted a comprehensive review of published studies on the subject. This document should serve as an important tool for family doctors, obstetricians, fertility specialists and patients.
About the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society (CFAS)
The CFAS is a multidisciplinary national non-profit Society that serves as the voice of reproductive specialists, scientists, and allied health professionals working in the field of Assisted Reproduction in Canada. Celebrating its 62nd year, the mission of the CFAS is to responsibly advance reproductive science and medicine in Canada through leadership, research and guidance. The CFAS aims to promote excellence in the field of Assisted Reproduction to the benefit of Canadians and children born of this technology.