Age 39, should I save my frozen embryos? - Fertility Network UK

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Age 39, should I save my frozen embryos?


I’ve just started meds for my 3rd FET from the same cycle (two years ago). We have 2 frozen blastocysts left.

It’s just hit me that if we use these embryos now and are successful (no guarantees!) it’s very unlikely we would be able to have a second child as I’d be 40 before IVF was possible again.

I’m wondering if we should keep these on ice and do a fresh round now before I am 40?!

I know we have 2 embryos left but we’ve had a really poor thaw rate and ended up using 4 embryos over the previous 2 frozen cycles so I suspect we’ll be asked to thaw a second this time around too.

I’m so confused and I don’t have much time to make this decision. Do I put everything into trying to have one child, or try and hold out for two? I thought with 7 blastocysts we would have been successful but we’ve already used 5 😔 x

17 Replies

Hi, why do you think you would be unlikely to have another child because you would be 40?

Fertility and egg quality doesn't suddenly stop at 40.. and its not a linear thing that is the same for everyone. You will find plenty of people on here who are over 40 (myself included) and still trying for our first child.

Was fertility your reason or is it more a logistical thing? x

JuicyLu in reply to Daisy1245

Thanks for your replay. Yes, basically fertility. But you’re right it’s an ‘average’ so individually will vary

Hi JuicyLu. Obviously this depends on a lot of things, including how you're feeling and finances, mainly. Personally, I only have 1 frozen embryo, but I want to save it as a last resort as I would rather get my eggs out now while I'm younger. There probably isn't much difference in just one year, but I don't know how long this IVF journey is going to take (it's been 3 years so far)! I'm only thinking about my first baby at this stage, though. However, if I still had this frozen embryo available when trying for a second, that would be great. I agree with Daisy1245 that 40 is not some sort of cut-off, but also if you don't thaw this second embryo and you unfortunately don't get pregnant off the one embryo, can't you then thaw the second and try it on your next round? It really is a personal decision, though.

JuicyLu in reply to ttcemmie

Hello, thanks for your message. I would definitely only thaw 1 embryo if it thaws ok and then leave one frozen and do a fresh round next.

Our problem is that historically we’ve had to thaw 2 or 3 just to get one that can be put back as they don’t thaw well 😕 So, I’m considering whether to abandon the cycle if thawing one doesn’t work out rather than use both this time x

ttcemmie in reply to JuicyLu

Ahhh. Difficult decisions. :( Wish there were more certainties and guarantees with this.


This really is a personal decision and will need to take account many of your personal circumstances. But I also advice having this chat with your doctor and agree the right plan that suits you.

For what it’s worth, I’m also 39 and turning 40 in July. After several rounds of IVF, I only had one good embryo so i went forward with it’s egg transfer. I didn’t have the funds for more ivf rounds but I’m hoping in a year or two when my financial situation improve I’ll try again when maybe I am 41/42.

Good luck with whatever decision you come to.

JuicyLu in reply to Charliebenj

Sorry to hear you’ve not had it easy with IVF. Thanks for your message and good luck to you too x

I would save any embryos. They will be from younger eggs, and wouldn’t it be better to have an FET rather than having to do a whole fresh cycle? Just my thoughts though. Will do anything to avoid needles xx

Thanks everyone, you’re right about all the aspects that can affect the decision. In my case it’s really about time more than anything else. I know success rates for 37-39 are broadly the same, but lower at 40. But also that this is an ‘average’.

I’m thinking about asking to have my AMH tested to help with making a decision (have to be quick though!). Also, I might only let them thaw one If this doesn’t thaw I will save the last one as a ‘last resort’ and do a fresh round.

I would do another retrieval now. Yes it's annoying and expensive but you're younger now than you will be if you leave it. It just takes the pressure off a bit for future of luck with it all 🍀

Personally I would just focus on this baby and do all you can to achieve it, as there are no guarantees with IVF. I would worry about a second child if and when the time comes. Theoretically your frozen embie should be better quality and frozen tends to have higher success rates so if it was me I would use that one first. Just my opinion but good luck whatever you decide xx

It’s a tricky one. I know 40 isn’t a linear cut off age but egg quality is supposed to decline more quickly after that and it is generally acknowledged it will be harder. If this round is successful then it will be 1 possibly even 2 years before you go again (I say 2 as firstly you need to recover from birth and then you may be in the sleep deprived state for a while and in no mental state to face another round and if you breastfeed then you’ll need to wait until LO is weaned etc). I don’t think there is a right or wrong decision. For me it would depend on just how much I had my heart set on a second if this round is successful and whether I had the financial means to do another round now plus be ok for mat leave/new baby things etc. If those two criteria were met then I think I personally would do another fresh round now. Good luck with whatever you decide.

If it was me I’d probably do a fresh round and keep the frozen as a back up 🤷🏼‍♀️ it takes so long for each stage and if your frozen works now then it will be ages before you do another fresh and egg numbers drop as we age .

You might get more frozen embies and a better chance, especially if those frozen are from the same batch as failed ones. That’s how I’d see it anyway.

Random question : do egg numbers decline when you’re pregnant or pause???!!

All the best with your decision ,


Rhinocat x 💐

JuicyLu in reply to RhinoCat

Thanks RhinoCat. Good question about the eggs. I suspect they continue to decline even if you’re pregnant tbh but that is a guess!

Good point about the current frozen ones - I also wondered about this current ‘batch’ not being fantastic due to high numbers that haven’t thawed 🤔 Which actually makes me wonder if ‘banking’ them for future use is pointless. It’s all a numbers game really and I’m beginning to think that you won’t know if embryos are any good until you use them.

I am not an expert but mesotherapy of ovaries might be an option for you to improve your ovarian reserve when you are 40 . Anyway, I would recommend discussing it with your doc. xx

JuicyLu in reply to alockie

Thanks, will look into it x

Hi, just wanted to say i understand your panick. Im 40 and the drs make it sound like its game over for us and nothing will be any good may aswel go straight for donor eggs blah, blah, blah. They do make you feel like theres no hope, but remember we are individuals and not everyones eggs are done at 40. They all go by the same statistics, try not to get too worried about the whole age thing. I dont think my circumstances changed from 39 to 40. You can take things like ubiquinol and dhea for egg quality too, and live a chemical free life, eg. Cosmetics, cleaning products and no plastic containers or packaging. This is better for your health anyway and i will continue to do this wether ivf works or not x

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