‘Why have women not returned to use their frozen oocytes?’: a 5-year follow-up of women after planned oocyte cryopreservation

Published:September 02, 2021DOI:


      Research question

      What are the reproductive choices and retrospective reflections of women at least 4 years after planned oocyte cryopreservation (POC)?


      This was an internet survey, using the REDCap application, of women who underwent POC, at a single-centre university-affiliated IVF unit, 4–8 years before the survey. The questionnaire addressed reproductive choices and outcomes following POC.


      Seventy-nine women who underwent POC during 2011–2014 were invited to participate, and 70 (89%) responded. Mean age at cryopreservation was 37.1 ± 2.4 (range 30–41) years, mean age at study participation 42.6 ± 2.6 (range 35–48) years, and mean time from first cryopreservation cycle to study participation 5.5 ± 1.3 (range 4–8) years. The main retrospectively reported reason for POC was not wanting to become pregnant without a partner (59, 84%). During the follow-up period, 44 women (63%) attempted to conceive either naturally or by assisted reproductive technology using fresh or cryopreserved oocytes. Of those, 28 women achieved a live birth (64% of those who tried to conceive). Fourteen respondents (20% of all respondents) reported using their cryopreserved oocytes, and three (21%) achieved a birth using those oocytes. Fifteen women (34%) of those who tried to conceive used donor spermatozoa.


      The most common reasons for not using frozen oocytes were achieving pregnancy without frozen oocytes or preferring not to have a child without a partner. A considerable proportion of women who had POC and were not interested in being a single parent by choice eventually try to conceive using donor spermatozoa several years later.


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      Avi Tsafrir is currently a Senior Clinician at the IVF Unit, Shaare-Zedek Medical Center, and Lecturer at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is also the Coordinator of Fertility Preservation at Shaare Zedek. His research interests are infertility at an advanced reproductive age, fertility preservation and decision making in medicine.
      Key message
      The most common reasons for not using cryopreserved oocytes approximately 5 years after planned oocyte cryopreservation were achieving pregnancy without cryopreserved oocytes, or preferring not to have a child without a partner. Many women who initially expressed disinterest in single parenthood by choice eventually attempted to conceive using donor sperm.