waiting to have a family in your 40’s? Reality tv star and media personality, Kourtney Kardashian, at age 44 is a mum of three, but after meeting her new partner, decided to give IVF a go, but unsuccessfully went through several rounds last year after freezing her eggs.
Like many women she thought egg freezing in her 30’s would give her more of a chance to get pregnant in her forties. And it’s true it can help extend your chances of successfully conceiving later on in life, but it is dangerous to view this as a sure thing.
In Kourtney’s case her new husband Travis Barker, who is the drummer for punk band Blink-182, at 48 years old still had issues of aging to consider. Sperm quality and mobility deteriorates in men as they get older.
But instead of giving up the couple continued with their fertility attempts and have recently managed a successful pregnancy.
So if you’re currently in your early 20s and are considering planning your pregnancy for your 40s here are a few options you should consider. Keep in mind that fertility and reproductive health can vary from person to person, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
There are several options available for you. Here are some common methods of fertility preservation:
Egg Freezing (Oocyte Cryopreservation):
Egg freezing involves retrieving mature eggs from your ovaries, freezing them, and storing them for future use. This allows you to preserve your eggs at their current age and quality. When you’re ready to conceive in the future, the frozen eggs can be thawed, fertilized with sperm in a laboratory (through in vitro fertilization), and transferred to your uterus.
If you have a partner or are open to using donor sperm, you may consider embryo cryopreservation. This involves retrieving eggs from your ovaries, fertilizing them with sperm, and allowing the resulting embryos to develop in a laboratory. The embryos that are not immediately transferred to the uterus can be frozen and stored for later use.
Ovarian Tissue Freezing:
This is a relatively newer technique where a portion of your ovarian tissue is surgically removed and frozen for future use. The tissue can be re-implanted later, allowing the ovaries to resume functioning and produce eggs naturally.
GnRH Agonist Suppression:
Prior to undergoing certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery that may affect fertility, you may opt for GnRH agonist suppression. This involves temporarily shutting down the ovaries to protect them from potential damage during treatment. It may help preserve fertility, but its effectiveness varies depending on the specific circumstances.
As we’ve already said, fertility preservation techniques have varying success rates and associated costs. Additionally, the suitability of each method depends on individual factors, such as your specific medical history, ovarian reserve, and personal preferences.
What are the other reasons to opt for fertility preservation?
It’s not just your career that often needs to be taken into consideration. Here are some common reasons why individuals may consider fertility preservation:
Certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgeries, can have detrimental effects on fertility. Cancer treatments, for example, may cause temporary or permanent damage to the reproductive organs or disrupt hormonal function. Fertility preservation prior to undergoing such treatments can help individuals preserve their reproductive potential and increase the likelihood of having biological children in the future.
Reproductive Health Conditions:
Some individuals may have reproductive health conditions, such as endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), which can impact fertility. In such cases, fertility preservation can be considered as a proactive measure to safeguard the possibility of having children. Preserving eggs, embryos, or ovarian tissue at a younger age can help mitigate the potential effects of these conditions on fertility.
Genetic or Hereditary Factors:
Individuals with known genetic disorders or a family history of genetic conditions may opt for fertility preservation. They may choose to freeze embryos and undergo preimplantation genetic testing to ensure the selection of healthy embryos for future pregnancy attempts. This can help prevent the transmission of genetic conditions to offspring.
Personal Choice and Empowerment:
Fertility preservation provides individuals with the freedom and empowerment to make decisions about their reproductive future. It allows them to have greater control over their family planning options, regardless of their current circumstances or relationship status. Fertility preservation can alleviate concerns about age-related fertility decline, offering peace of mind and flexibility for family-building goals.
Above all it’s worth keeping in mind that fertility preservation is most effective when done at a young age, so if you freeze your eggs in your twenties, it allows you to create a much better quality embryo and have a higher chance of successful pregnancy in the future.