Doctors have warned women that if they have been advised to freeze their eggs close to the age of 40, they are being sold a ‘false notion’.
With people having children later than in previous generations, many women are deciding to freeze their eggs.
The procedure is called oocyte cryopreservation and involves several eggs being extracted from a woman’s ovaries.
They are then frozen so that the woman can retain the option to have children at some point in the future when she is no longer producing eggs.
However, leading fertility expert Dr Phil Boyle of Neo Fertility in Dublin says that the chances of getting pregnant from frozen eggs are lower than couples are generally led to believe.
He told the Independent.ie: “Most people would agree it’s a bad idea doing egg freezing any time close to 40.”
“The numbers with egg freezing alone are quite depressing. You could have the false notion that you’re freezing your egg and you have a high chance of pregnancy.”
“The percentages are a bit depressing. The challenge is [for a clinic] to say, here’s what the figures are.
“If you subdivide that into the over 40 age group, it’s coming in at 13%.”
Women’s fertility rates start to fall at a quicker rate after they pass the age of 35 and while many freeze their eggs, fewer than 5% are able to successfully become pregnant with an IVF baby after they reach 44.
Richard Anderson is professor of clinical reproductive science at the University of Edinburgh.
He told the Daily Mail: “The chances of having a baby from egg-freezing in a woman’s late forties are very slim and clinics need to be clear that they are acting in a responsible manner.”
“It is difficult to see how someone freezing their eggs close to their 50th birthday is advisable, and it is absolutely essential that women doing so have full knowledge of the likely success rates.”