Fertility preservation in case of a later desire to have children (so-called “social freezing”)

At the time of birth, the female baby has about 2 million eggs in the ovaries. This number already decreases drastically to about 400,000 by puberty. In the fertile phase, a woman loses about 1000 eggs per month.

At the same time as the remaining number of eggs decreases, their quality deteriorates. While in a 30-year-old woman every 2nd-3rd egg is basically of good quality, in a 40-year-old woman this is already reduced to about every 5th-6th egg.

If the woman is in her early 40s, the chance of pregnancy occurring naturally is about 10%. The birth of a child to a woman who has passed the age of 44 is a rarity.

Thanks to modern freezing technology, vitrification, it is now possible to preserve eggs in order to postpone the desired pregnancy to a later stage in life. The prerequisite for this is that this “fertility reserve” takes place at a time when the quality of the eggs allows an acceptable pregnancy rate.

The best time is therefore when a woman is in her early 30s. Experience shows, however, that most women do not seriously consider the topic of “desired child” until they are in their mid-30s.

With these precautionary frozen eggs, a pregnancy rate can be achieved at a later date that corresponds to the pregnancy rate at the time of freezing, if sufficient eggs are frozen. As a rule of thumb, the depot should contain as many eggs as the woman’s age in years when freezing takes place. So 25 eggs for a 25-year-old woman, 30 eggs for a 30-year-old woman, and so on.

However, it must be emphasized: Pregnancy cannot be guaranteed with either “fresh” or “cryopreserved” eggs.

As we learn from the press again and again, such a pregnancy is medically possible up to the age of 70. However, in the eyes of the vast majority of doctors, this is not desirable for the mother and the child for medical and psychological reasons. In Germany there is a certain self-commitment that we do not want to initiate pregnancies after the age of 50.