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How Many Frozen Eggs Do You Need to Have a Baby?

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A recently published study set out to answer the question, “How many frozen eggs does it take to have a baby?”

“We looked at 160 cycles of women using their own eggs that they had previously frozen for fertility preservation,” says Dr. Nicole Noyes, a reproductive endocrinologist at NYU Fertility Center and co-director of NYU Fertility Center's Oocyte Cryopreservation (Egg Freezing) Program. “We looked at the pregnancy rate by age and looked at how many eggs you needed to achieve 100% pregnancy rate.”

The study determined that the number of eggs needed to achieve live birth by age is as follows:

  • Women 25-34: 8 eggs
  • Women 35-37: 10 eggs
  • Women 38-40: 15 eggs
  • Women 41-42: 50 eggs

“The formula is complicated; it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close,” Noyes says. “The main thing is, it looks like you need in the 8 to 10 range if you’re under 37, and in the 15 range if you’re 38 to 40,” Noyes explains.

And do women in their 40s really need 50 eggs to achieve one live birth, as the study suggests? “No,” Noyes says. “The problem with the patients over 40 is there’s such a broad range of women. Some are super fertile and there are women who are very close to menopause; you might be in the very fertile bucket and you might be in the very infertile bucket.”

Noyes counsels women that 20 eggs is the ideal number to retrieve. Of all eggs retrieved in all clinics, only 70 to 75 percent are mature, so some are not viable at the start. “I’ll encourage patients to do a second cycle if they can. To get 20 eggs you often have to do two cycles in all age groups,” Noyes adds.

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