What did we learn to date from the experiences of women who opted for cryopreservation of their oocytes? 

Oocyte cryopreservation or vitrification can bridge the gap between a woman’s reproductive peak and the time when she is ready for motherhood in the best emotional, relational, economic, and social conditions.

What we know from research

Research has shown that age and a recent relationship break-up often play a decisive role in the decision to go ahead with treatment. In recent years, we have noticed that women have become more aware that this option is available or are even being referred by their gynaecologist for this treatment.

The most frequently cited reasons for oocyte cryopreservation are to have more time to find the right partner, to keep one’s reproductive options open for the future, and to avoid possible later regrets. That is why so many women cite peace of mind as a consequence of their decision. Women report feeling more in control by consciously keeping their reproductive options open. Very few women say they regret having the treatment as a result.

Women do need to realise, however, that there are no guarantees but that this treatment definitely increases your chances of becoming a mum at an older reproductive age.

Julie Nekkebroeck, psychologist

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What will the future bring?

Not all women who had their oocytes cryopreserved return to the fertility centre at a later stage of their life. We do not know much about the rationale behind this at this time. Possible hypotheses are that these women did eventually find the right partner, got pregnant naturally or through another fertility centre, or decided against having children. If you do choose to make this decision for the future, you potentially make a financial, physical, and emotional investment in a treatment but you may decide against taking advantage of the benefits later on in life.

We have observed that about half of the women who opted for oocyte cryopreservation return to the fertility centre within ten years to have children with the help of our centre. The majority of women use their cryopreserved oocytes (after any options with fresh oocytes have been exhausted). The older you are when you effectively decide to have children, the more likely it is that you will need to use cryopreserved oocytes.

Half of the women who returned to our centre embarked on their journey as single women who wanted to have children. When mapping out your options, keep in mind that the right partner may not have crossed your path or that not all the right conditions may be fulfilled at the time when you are ready for motherhood.

You can always request an appointment with one of our psychologists if you wish to further discuss your options and any questions you have.