Female fertility peaks when women are in their twenties. By their mid-thirties, female egg quality begins to deteriorate quickly as a natural part of aging. This poses problems for women who wait to have children, as their chances of conceiving are lowered as they age.
According to the ASRM fact sheet Age and Fertility (PDF), 7 percent of women aged 20 – 24 years old are considered infertile. 15 percent of women aged 30 – 34 are infertile. 29 percent of women aged 40-44 are infertile. I remember when my sister turned 40, she joked that her “biological clock was running out.” Increasing age comes with increased odds at infertility.
For women who wish to delay conception and pregnancy, and who wish to have children with genetic connections to themselves, egg harvesting has become an increasingly popular fertility treatment that can preserve women’s fertility.
What is egg harvesting?
Egg harvesting is a fertility treatment in which a doctor removes a woman’s eggs, then freezes them so that she can use them to conceive at a later time. These “high quality” eggs can then remain frozen until the woman decides to try to get pregnant with them.
How does egg harvesting work?
Since a woman’s ovaries normally produce one egg each month, doctors prescribe fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries to produce additional eggs, then harvest those eggs from her ovaries with an ultrasound-guided needle. The entire egg harvesting procedure lasts about an hour, and is typically performed under “twilight” anaesthesia. Women who have had the procedure report mild to moderate discomfort after the procedure.
If you’re interested in egg harvesting and would like to find a fertility doctor nearby, check out our directory of fertility clinics and egg donor programs.