More Women Are Freezing Their Eggs To Delay Motherhood, Report Shows

But the number of frozen eggs actually being used to make babies is very low.

There has been a "substantial increase" in the amount of women opting to freeze their eggs so they can become mothers later in life, new figures show.

In 2001, just 29 women chose to freeze their eggs, according to statistics from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

However in 2014, this number skyrocketed to 816 women wanting to freeze and store their eggs for future use.

The most common reason for egg freezing is having no male partner.

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One third of the women aged 37 and under chose to freeze their eggs because they had no male partner, PA reports.

In women aged 38 and over, this figure rose to more than half.

They also opted to freeze their eggs if they faced medical treatment - such as chemotherapy - which could affect their fertility.

Other reasons included:

  • Not feeling ready for motherhood but worrying about declining fertility
  • Not feeling ready because of careers
  • Being at risk of injury or death - for example, being in the army and being deployed in a war zone
  • Undergoing gender reassignment

Since 2001, 3,676 women have frozen their eggs, according to HFEA.

However fewer than 60 babies have been born to patients storing and thawing their own eggs since then.

The approximate success rate of using frozen eggs was 14%, compared with an average 26% success rate of IVF using fresh eggs.

The HFEA warned: "The nature of egg freezing means we may not know the true success rate for eggs frozen now for several years to come.

"The numbers we have now are small and should be used cautiously."

Women are born with between one and two million eggs that decrease in number over time until they reach menopause.

The quality of eggs that women release is also reduced over time, which can lead to infertility, stillbirth or birth defects such as Down's syndrome.

This is because eggs can end up containing too many or too few chromosomes.

HFEA's chairwoman Sally Cheshire said the figures send out "a very clear message about egg freezing".

"While there has been much made recently about the rise in 'social' egg freezing, the number of frozen eggs actually being used in treatment is still extremely low," she said.

"New freezing techniques appear to have improved the chance of future success, but it's still too early to know that for certain, so it's important that women don't see freezing as a guarantee of future pregnancy."