03 Feb Fertility Specialists Medical Group in San Diego Educates Women About the Option to Freeze Their Eggs Now to Start Their Family Later
Women can help to protect their future fertility by freezing their eggs before their chances of pregnancy are reduced
SAN DIEGO, CA (February 3, 2020) – While in training to become a fertility specialist, Dr. Kristi Maas proactively chose to freeze her eggs in order to have options for building her family if/when she became ready. Elective egg freezing wasn’t commonplace at that time, but Maas now sees this as a growing trend in family planning.
“Women are cautioned not to have sex and are scared that they can get pregnant at their first sexual encounter,” said Maas, a reproductive endocrinologist at Fertility Specialists Medical Group (FSMG) in San Diego. “Women are almost never counseled regarding the other side of reproduction – that it can be hard to get pregnant when you really want to. I thought about myself 10 to 20 years down the road wanting children and knew I would regret it if I didn’t preserve my fertility.”
Maas and FSMG are on the forefront of this movement, offering free egg freezing consultations and educating women about the option for fertility preservation if desiring to delay family building. Egg quantity and quality decline with age, but egg freezing when women are younger allows them to store eggs that have the reproductive potential of the age at which they are frozen for use in the future, if needed.
Women like Jaclyn Gornbein are heeding that advice.
“I was 29 and single and wanted to be a mom one day,” said Gornbein, a patient at FSMG. “I didn’t want the pressure of time to be riding on my shoulders. Freezing my eggs gave me the ability to take things slow and allowed me to make the best decisions for myself without the threat of a ticking time clock.”
Maas said women are seeking higher levels of education and delaying childbearing for professional development and personal/financial stability, often at the detriment of their fertility. Egg freezing’s technological advancements and heightened potential have intersected with this social trend.
“I thought about myself 10 to 20 years down the road wanting children and knew I would regret it if I didn’t preserve my fertility,” said Dr. Kristi Maas.
The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reports almost 11,000 individuals used egg cryopreservation services in 2017 – a 24% increase over 2016 – and this trend is expected to continue.
Maas recommends that women interested in fertility preservation schedule a consultation and undergo assessment and counseling regarding freezing their eggs by their mid-30s, if possible. Although freezing eggs does not guarantee a future pregnancy, it can increase the chance of being able to have a child later in life. Maas and her fellow doctors at FSMG want to educate women regarding their options and end the “I wish I met you when …” commentary they often hear in their clinic when they tell a patient about the benefits of freezing eggs at an earlier age.
“As an engineer, I am very data driven and, in fertility, the numbers are startling,” said Maas. “Egg supply and quality start declining from birth and decrease more significantly in the late-30s. Women hit their peak fertility at age 20 when the probability of pregnancy is 22% per month. By age 40 it drops to 5% or less. Time is important for female reproduction.”