Egg freezing in Indian women: An increasing trend, says Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, Gynaecologist & IVF Specialist, SCI Healthcare

Embryo freezing is a usual way for women to increase their reproductive age. Since many years, it has been offered experimentally for young women or girls who are diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. However, with ‘modern ways of life’, there is increasing trend of egg freezing amongst Indian women.

Many of us are aware of egg freezing and associate it with celebrities and models, but very few of us are aware that even non-celebrity women are getting their egg freezed and experts are observing an increase of this trend. Career is one of the reason of this increasing trend. Usually, women who are too focused on making their career faces late marriage or sometimes they fail to find a perfect match. It is a general perception that women aged 30-35 years faces problem in conceiving. According to experts, the right age for women to have children is before 30-years, after which the ovum quality gradually reduces. After the age of 37-years, it becomes difficult for women to conceive naturally.

The technique – ‘oocyte freezing’ or ‘egg freezing’ – where the ovum from a healthy woman is taken and stored for future use was already popular among higher income groups. Recently, there is increasing awareness in career oriented women who are opting this procedure. This technique is being used for the lifestyle reasons.

Since many years, egg freezing has been offered experimentally for young women or girls who are diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness that would destroy their ovaries.

Another reason is there is age-related infertility. Working women now prefer to have her first child at around 35 years failing to know that the ability to conceive starts dropping considerably at such age and more rapidly as the fourtees nears. Women have fewer eggs left, and these older ones are not so healthy meaning even if the woman can get pregnant she is more likely to miscarry.

The process of freezing eggs
Women inject high levels of hormones for two weeks to stimulate the ovaries and develop multiple follicles. Retrieving them is an outpatient procedure. This article explores the social benefits and moral arguments in favour of women, and couples freezing eggs are:

  • Offers women more time to choose a partner
  • Provides better opportunities for the child byproviding the couples more time to become financially stable
  • May reduce risk of genetic & chromosomal abnormality
  • Allows women and couples to have another child if circumstances change
  • Offers an option to women and children at risk of ovarian failure
  • May increase the egg and embryo pool

Freezing eggs also avoids some of the moral objections associated with freezing embryos. Only around 50 per cent women who postpone childbearing until their thirties conceive in the following 6 years.

For those who do not conceive due to infertility, egg freezing would increase their chances of being able to conceive. Given that egg freezing is now significantly more successful, we should re-consider its use as an option for expanding their reproductive age. By the time women decide they want to freeze their eggs, they are often in their late thirties, when their eggs have declines in quality significantly.

A 30-year-old who freezes her eggs would have a 30-40 per cent chance of having a child. After 38, this fails to 25 per cent and even freezing your eggs at 30 could have its downsides.

Lastly, Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, gynaecologist and IVF Specialist, SCI Healthcare has quoted there is a trend and women who decide to postpone childbearing should consider freezing their eggs during 20-30 years of age, to help them conceive later in life.