The process of egg freezing is costly (~$18K per cycle) and today <10% of women return back to use their frozen eggs. This has led many to wonder how women ultimately perceive their decision to freeze their eggs.
A team of UCSF researchers surveyed over 200 women who froze their eggs from 2012 - 2016 to gauge how they regarded the choice. The UCSF team characterized the respondents on a number of critical factors and had the benefit of cross-referencing their answers against clinically-relevent data like the number of eggs each patient froze.
What The Study Showed:
On a 0 - 100 regret scale (0 being the lowest, 100 the highest), the average patient rated their level of regret a 10, which implies generally low levels of regret.
However, when investigators tried to crudely bucket the scores they felt 52% had no regret, 33% displayed signs of mild regret and 16% felt moderate-to-severe regret (by our count, almost all in this bucket were moderate).
Ultimately, 89% of women said they were happy they froze their eggs regardless of whether they ultimately get used.
Unsurprisingly, patients were far more likely to regret the decision if they managed to freeze fewer eggs (<10) or felt they were poorly educated on the process beforehand.
Encouragingly, roughly 95% of patients recognized that freezing eggs did not guaruntee a future live birth.
Interestingly, only 6% of patients have come back to use their eggs. That strikes us as low given most women froze at age 36 and were nearly 40 at follow-up. In our minds, patients like this are the most likely candidates to return back to use their eggs.
The major limitation of this study is that it was performed on a relatively well-off (71% made $100K+ in salary) patient population. Given the cost-sensitivate nature of the procedure, patients of differing means might regard the choice differently.
What's more, patient perception of their decision may change as we begin to learn how likely frozen eggs are to work when needed across a broad range of patients, treated at a broad range of clinics.