Medical Research

Do Egg Freezers Regret Their Decision?

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.

What's New


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.

Limitations


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.

Related Courses
67k

Egg Freezing

Learn More
Preparing you to be a confident self-advocate as you make decisions around fertility preservation.
Featuring experts from
Mount Sinai, NYU, +3 more
9k

The IVF Laboratory

Learn More
Lab quality determines success. This course explains how to vet a lab to give yourself the best chance of a good outcome.
Featuring experts from
Columbia, Mount Sinai, +6 more
6k

Fertility 101

Learn More
You took sex ed, but now you need to understand fertility. Data to answer your questions about natural conception and diagnosing what might be wrong.
Featuring experts from
Cornell, Northwestern, +7 more
63k

Lifestyle Choices, From Diet To Supplements

Learn More
All the data on lifestyle choices and their impact on fertility, including decisions around diet, exercise, drinking alcohol, caffeine consumption, smoking, recreational drugs, and using supplements.
Featuring experts from
UCLA, Harvard, +4 more
27k

Acupuncture

Learn More
Does acupuncture & traditional Chinese medicine really make a difference for fertility? See the data on IVF, other fertility treatments, and trying naturally with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
339k

IVF - In Vitro Fertilization

Learn More
The most complex fertility treatment, this course will help you do it right the first time.
Featuring experts from
Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, +7 more
304k

IUI or "Artificial Insemination"

Learn More
Data on IUI success rates depending on who you are, what it costs, the risks, and how to decide between doing IUI and IVF.
Featuring experts from
Columbia, Johns Hopkins, +6 more
73k

Embryo Transfer

Learn More
We cover how many embryos to transfer, medicated vs. unmedicated cycles, fresh vs. frozen, and the do's and don'ts on transfer day itself.
Featuring experts from
Columbia, NYU, +3 more
15k

Endometriosis

Learn More
Breaking down all the data and information on what endometriosis is, how to best diagnose it, and what the best treatment is depending on who you are
Featuring experts from
Stanford
13k

ICSI

Learn More
ICSI costs $3–$5k but only improves birth rates in specific circumstances (hint: it’s not as simple as “helps with male factor”). We break down when it’s truly helpful.
Featuring experts from
Mount Sinai, Columbia, +6 more
37k

PGT (PGS) Genetic Screening

Learn More
Giving you the full picture: where it helps, where it doesn’t, and how you might think about this expensive add-on based on your specific priorities.
Featuring experts from
Mount Sinai, NYU, +6 more
Related Lessons
Expert's Perspective
Ovarian Reserve Screening & Egg Freezing

FSH, AMH, AFC, E2. Keeping straight the tests fertility doctors use can be incredibly difficult. Interpreting their meaning can be harder still. Here Eve Feinberg, one of the program directors at Northwestern, helps put it all into context for women considering egg freezing.

Expert's Perspective
Freeze Eggs or Embryos?

When the option to freeze embryos is available to patients, many disregard the option to freeze eggs. Owen Davis, ASRM President, weighs in on why egg freezing is still an important option to consider.

Expert's Perspective
Is it safe to ship cryopreserved eggs (and embryos)?

Patients are increasingly eager to ship their eggs and embryos to clinics out of town, out of state and out of the country. Vitrification has made that a far more delicate process. Peter Nagy, Ph.D helps explain the outcomes, steps and costs associated with shipping gametes from one clinic to another.

Expert's Perspective
Freezing Eggs or Embryos: A Therapist's Perspective

The decision of whether to freeze eggs or embryos can have profound near-term and long-term implications. Here is how one of the leading fertility therapists in the U.S. guides her patients to think through the quandry.

Expert's Perspective
How Long Are Frozen Eggs and Embryos Good For?

IVF treatment is a relatively new treatment, and egg and embryo freezing are newer still. So do we know how long these gametes can be safely stored and still work?

Expert's Perspective
Egg Freezing, Vitrification & Judging Your Lab’s Track Record

With every passing year, fertility treatment relies more and more upon the laboratory's ability to freeze and thaw gametes. Vitrification has forever changed how we store eggs and embryos, and yet the process requires a fair amount of experience, specifically when it comes to egg freezing. Peter Nagy, one of the fathers of vitrification, helps patients ascertain whether their lab is experienced enough to trust.

+ Show More Articles