As the number of women opting to freeze eggs in order to preserve fertility has increased in recent times, a review of the subject in the form of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) has been published in the journal Human Reproduction.
Strengths: Egg freezing is an excellent way to allow for flexibility when it comes to family planning. The efficacy and safety of vitrification have enabled egg freezing programs to be implemented with good survival rates and minimal adverse effects. Oocyte cryopreservation at a young age results in good chances of success upon use.
Weaknesses: Costs of the procedure may be prohibitive for many women. Outcomes from using frozen/thawed oocytes can be unpredictable, leading to a false sense of security for some patients who have frozen eggs. Cost effectiveness may also be an issue, as many women who freeze eggs do not need to use them.
Opportunities: Opportunities to optimise stimulation protocols and further avoid instances of OHSS exist. Elective egg freezing can also empower women by allowing them to make decisions regarding their fertility and reducing pressure to conceive, as well as providing opportunities for educating younger women about their fertility and the optimal age to freeze eggs. Elective egg freezing could also reduce the need for egg donation in the future.
Threats: Pregnancy at an advanced maternal age carries with it further risks and complications, which may become increased with greater elective egg freezing. Legal restrictions may also force many with frozen eggs to use or discard them before being ready, prevent them from storing them in the first instance or restrict the type of treatment for which they can be used.
Reference: Gil-Arribas E, Blockeel C, Pennings G, Nekkebroeck J, Velasco JAG, Serna J, De Vos M. Oocyte vitrification for elective fertility preservation: a SWOT analysis. Reprod Biomed Online. 2022 Jun;44(6):1005-1014. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2022.02.001. Epub 2022 Feb 5. PMID: 35304091.