A new study will explore the reasons why women freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons.
Researchers from the Jean Hailes Research Unit at Monash University, Melbourne IVF and the University of Melbourne, hope to survey women who froze their eggs at Melbourne IVF over the past 15 years.
The study will gather views on women's experiences of the care and information they received, as well as whether they went on to have children.
It's hoped that by understanding the reasons why some women undertook the procedure, the information could help inform others who are considering egg storage.
Professor Jane Fisher, Director of the Jean Hailes Research Unit, and one of the chief investigators of this study, said that while it is becoming more common to freeze eggs for later use, little is known about women's experiences and expectations of this practice in Australia.
"The anonymously-completed survey will explore women's circumstances at the time of freezing and what has happened to them and their stored material since.
"Participants will be asked whether they have had any children, including from the stored material, their plans for their stored eggs, and their views about the information and care they received before, during and after the egg retrieval procedure.
"The results will improve our understanding of women's needs for fertility-related services and clinical care related to the freezing of eggs," Professor Fisher said.
The researchers are calling for women who have frozen their eggs at Melbourne IVF over the past 15 years for non-medical reasons to share their experiences anonymously.
Recent scientific advances means that on average 80–90 per cent of eggs survive the freezing and thawing process for potential fertilisation through IVF. For every 10 eggs frozen, patients can expect about three to four good quality, usable embryos to be created successfully.
The process is commonly used by women who want to preserve their fertility ahead of cancer treatment. However increasingly, the procedure, which costs around $10,000, is also used for non-medical reasons, particularly single women concerned they may not meet a partner until later in life.
The issue is also attracting attention internationally with discussions scheduled at the European Society of Human Reproduction in Germany this week.