We were disappointed to read the Dating Forum column (June 28) discussing a young woman’s frustration with egg-freezing not having helped her secure a shidduch.
As physicians who discuss fertility with many single women, we empathize with the young woman’s frustration. But it must be noted that the question of whether egg-freezing can be a beneficial medical procedure is not controversial. There is an abundance of high-quality medical evidence that confirms that freezing eggs can be a safe, powerful, and effective approach to helping women have a family at an older age.
For example, the most recent data from the CDC shows that for women 45 and older, the percentage of IVF attempts resulting in a live birth is 3% (cdc.gov/art/pdf/2016-report/ART-2016-National-Summary-Report.pdf). In contrast, for women who freeze a typical number of eggs (10–15) before age 35, the chance of at least one live birth when using those frozen eggs is approximately 60–80% (fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(15)02037-3/pdf).
Unfortunately, many women only consider egg-freezing at an “older” age (after age 35, or even after age 40), when its effectiveness is much more limited. This challenge is exacerbated by those who reinforce the stigma that egg-freezing is something “only older singles do.” Well-intentioned efforts by matchmakers or others to “protect” young women from learning about age-related fertility challenges and egg-freezing may actually be robbing them of their only opportunity to have genetic/biological children.
We recognize that the question of how egg-freezing can be helpful in shidduchim is a complicated issue, one that places a heavy burden on the matchmakers, rabbis, and community leaders to appropriately educate young men and women to the realities of how age affects fertility—both to males and females. But egg-freezing needs to stay in the center of that conversation, not tossed out with the proverbial bathwater.
Joshua U. Klein, MD FACOG
Bat-Sheva Lerner Maslow, MD, MSCTR, FACOG
The authors are Reproductive Endocrinologists at Extend Fertility in New York City