Forum: No guarantee frozen eggs will yield babies

Posed photo of an adult holding a child's hand.
Posed photo of an adult holding a child's hand.PHOTO: ST FILE

Lifting the ban on non-medical egg freezing may bring hope to many would-be mothers but it is not without its drawbacks and pitfalls (Govt reviewing ban on women freezing eggs for non-medical reason, Oct 22).

Reproductive technologies can transform lives for the better.

Freezing the eggs might seem to be a way for women to extend their biological clocks, and frozen eggs offer a kind of guarantee.

Unfortunately, this impression is deceptive. Dr Glenn L. Schattman of Cornell University says in a report published in 2016 that the probability of a woman conceiving declines as women get older and freezing one's eggs does not reverse it.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has warned women not to rely too much on egg freezing.

Even in women below the age of 38, the chance that one frozen egg will yield a baby in the future is less than 12 per cent.

As women get older and their egg quality goes down, the pregnancy rate per egg drops even further. There have been reports of embryos that have been frozen for over 15 years making babies, and one may think that this is going to be true of eggs too.

The truth is that the technology is so new that none of us knows how frozen eggs will hold up over a long period of time.

Heng Cho Choon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2019, with the headline 'No guarantee frozen eggs will yield babies'. Print Edition | Subscribe