Elective oocyte cryopreservation for deferred childbearing

Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2016 Dec;23(6):458-464. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000291.


Purpose of review: Elective oocyte cryopreservation for deferred childbearing has gained popularity worldwide, commensurate with increased knowledge regarding age-related fertility decline. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent data regarding trends in delayed childbearing, review recent findings surrounding age-related fertility decline, acknowledge significant gaps in knowledge among patients and providers regarding fertility decline and review outcomes following elective oocyte cryopreservation.

Recent findings: Despite an inevitable decline in fertility and increase in miscarriage with increasing female age, there is a growing worldwide trend to delay childbearing. Patients and providers alike demonstrate large gaps in knowledge surrounding age-related fertility decline. Oocyte cryopreservation is clinically approved for medically indicated fertility preservation, but a growing number of women are using oocyte cryopreservation to defer childbearing and maintain reproductive autonomy. Mounting data support the efficacy and safety of oocyte cryopreservation when used to electively defer childbearing, with recent studies demonstrating rates of euploidy, implantation and live birth rates equivalent to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with fresh oocytes.

Summary: Oocyte cryopreservation provides women with an option to defer childbearing and maintain reproductive autonomy, with IVF success rates on par with fresh IVF. However, it is critical that patients understand the limitations of oocyte cryopreservation. Greater education regarding age-related fertility decline should be geared toward patients and providers to prevent unintended childlessness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Aging
  • Cryopreservation*
  • Female
  • Fertility Preservation / methods*
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / epidemiology
  • Oocytes*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Treatment Outcome