What if you could program your own Biological Clock?
On Monday, October 22, 2012, The Associated Press reported the following:
“…Egg freezing does enable women to have healthy babies and should no longer be considered an experimental technique to preserve fertility, according to new guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The move is expected to help cancer patients preserve their fertility, by pushing more insurers to pay for their procedure, and to boost banking of donated eggs, similar to sperm banking. Women who want to have children using their own eggs past typical childbearing years or after chemotherapy or radiation treatments sometimes turn to egg freezing and storage…”
Human Reproduction is a very inefficient process. It can also be an inconvenient truth, particularly when it comes to the Biological Clock.
The field of reproductive medicine has brought about life altering technology over the past quarter century, including In Vitro Fertilization, and Third Party Reproduction (including Donor Egg, Donor Sperm and Surrogacy). While advances in treatment have made the process a bit more efficient, the issue of age and its effect on a woman’s egg quantity and quality, is still formidable.
Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, approximately 1 million. Yet, by the onset of Puberty, only 300,000 to 400,000 remain. Every month, 500-1000 eggs are lost, along with the one or two eggs which mature and are released each month. Simultaneously, a woman’s eggs decline in quality every year as well, due to aging, other environmental factors, diseases, medications, toxins and/or personal habits such as smoking. This one/two punch thins the ranks of viable eggs. Previously, it was thought that a woman’s fertility, while always in a state of perpetual decline, did not truly accelerate its downhill progression until the age of 35. However, recent studies have clarified that, in fact, a significant reduction in both quantity and quality of eggs can be seen starting at the age of 28. This process can be dramatically sped up in the setting of genetic predispositions (carriers of BRCA or FMR mutations), lifestyle factors, (smoking), and exposure to chemotherapy or pelvic radiation therapy Such exposures not only increase the risk for future infertility but may also increase the risk for premature menopause.
Egg freezing has gained popularity as a means to extend female fertility. To learn more about egg freezing, contact our office today to speak with one of our Team RMI physicians.