Women are born with millions of eggs (5-7 million), however, the number of eggs decreases progressively from birth (1-2 million) to puberty (500,000) and then menopause (1,000). The rate of loss of these eggs varies at different rates among women regardless of their health status. In general, the quality of a woman’s eggs decreases progressively. More rapid decreases in quality begin at age of 35 with increased difficulty conceiving naturally in their late 30s and 40s. Unfortunately, for some women, the quality of their eggs decline as early as their 20s. In addition, the incidence of chromosomally abnormal eggs also increases with age with noticeable increases starting around age 37 although this also varies from one individual to another.
FRUSTRATIONS WITH OVARIAN AGING
Over the years one of the common frustrations women have voiced is that they wish they had known that their eggs were aging at a faster rate than normal. With the advancements in egg freezing using an exciting new technique called vitrification (flash-freezing method), more women would benefit from knowing the status of their egg quality as early as feasible. Women whose eggs are still viable can consider delaying starting their families depending on their age. Women whose eggs have a decrease in quality or quantity may consider preserving their fertility by freezing eggs or embryos before further compromise occurs based on age or other medical factors. CCRM was one of the earliest programs to adopt the vitrification process in the United States.
FAMILY HISTORY OF INFERTILITY
There are also women whose mother or siblings have experienced infertility and were diagnosed with decreased egg quality or quantity at a young age. These women would also benefit greatly from understanding their egg health early in their lives.
CRITERIA FOR PARTICIPATING
CCRM offers women of child-bearing age an opportunity to determine the current status of their ovarian reserve through CCRM’s Fertility Assessment Program. In order to qualify, women must be under the age of 40, not planning to conceive within the next six months, and desire information about her current fertility status.
BIRTH CONTROL MEDICATION
Women who are on birth control pills will need to discontinue the pill for one menstrual cycle before the testing is completed. You can meet with the physician first before you stop the pill if you are uncomfortable stopping the birth control pills prior to your first consult. In addition, you should consider an alternative, non-hormonal form of contraception if you are sexually active such as condoms to prevent pregnancy.
The following services are included in CCRM’s fertility assessment program:
New Patient Physician Consult
3D Baseline Ultrasound: Evaluation of the uterus and number of eggs potentially stimulating during that menstrual cycle assessing both quality and quantity of eggs
Day 3 Hormones including FSH, LH, Estradiol Lab Work: Assessment of the quality of eggs
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) Lab Work: Assessment of the quantity of eggs
Regroup: Office Appointment with physician to review test results
Egg Freezing at CCRM
For those women interested in the egg freezing procedure, the following statistics may be helpful. CCRM has completed egg freezing cycles on more than 500 women. Although many of the eggs are frozen for long term storage and fertility preservation, more than 300 egg thawing cycles have been completed with an oocyte survival rate of greater than 90%. The pregnancy rate following egg thawing, fertilization, and embryo transfer is 74.0% with a live birth rate per embryo transfer of 64.3% as of September 2014.
How to Start the Program
Click here to schedule an appointment with a CCRM physician to begin the fertility assessment program.