44% of younger women considering freezing eggs, poll suggests

More than four out of 10 women aged 18 to 24 would consider freezing their eggs in the future, research suggests.

A poll found 44% would consider egg freezing to try to preserve their fertility while 11% of all age groups have frozen their eggs or have considered it in the past.

The survey, for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), also found widespread fears about fertility, including among younger women.

Almost half of all women have worried about their own fertility (49%), with a quarter (25%) of 18 to 24-year-olds saying they are concerned.

Around one in five women (18%) of all ages said they would consider fertility treatment abroad and 28% would consider “fertility coaching”, such as somebody to help with the insecurities evoked by infertility and IVF.

Women are also using technology to track their possible fertile periods, with 20% having used a fertility app and 31% considering using one in the future.

Some 16% have used an ovulation monitor or ovulation testing kit, one in nine (11%) have considered using one and a third (33%) would consider using one in the future.

The poll of 1,002 women was carried out to promote the Fertility Forum, an event on March 30 to help anyone who wants to find out more about fertility.

The event is being organised by the RCOG, the UK’s fertility regulator the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and British Fertility Society (BFS).

The poll also found that 76% of women are not sure if fertility information is impartial and unbiased, while 62% report feeling overwhelmed by the volume of advice on offer.

More than half (54%) thought online forums were unreliable and 74% said Facebook groups were unreliable.

Most women (81%) also said it was not always clear that information was promoting particular clinics or treatments.

RCOG president Professor Lesley Regan said: “Trying for a baby can be an incredibly stressful time for some. This new data echoes what we have been hearing from women and patients for many years.

“It is vital that women and couples have access to accurate, evidence-based, impartial and expert advice which is why we have brought together renowned experts, patients and partners together in one location for our very first Fertility Forum event.”

Sally Cheshire, chairwoman of the HFEA, said: “As the fertility regulator, we collect data about every treatment cycle across the UK to provide patients with clear, unbiased information and to prepare them for what they will face at their clinic.

“I know from personal experience as a former patient how difficult it is to find impartial, evidence-based information so that you can make informed choices about the right fertility treatment for you.”

Data shows that of 1,173 egg freezing cycles that took place in 2016, only 32% of women freezing their eggs were aged 35 or under.

Experts suggest that, because egg freezing works best for women under 35, those in their late 30s would need to freeze around 30 eggs to have a good chance of achieving pregnancy, at a cost of about £15,000.

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