Brigham and Women’s Tool Helps Women Decide How Many Eggs to Freeze

The predictive model may make tough choices a little easier.
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Photo by Alex Lau

Egg freezing can bring peace of mind to women who are waiting or temporarily unable to have kids, but it may also give rise to a whole new brand of anxiety and uncertainty. Should I freeze my eggs? Is it too late? How many is enough?

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has some answers. Clinicians from the hospital have developed a data-based predictive model that may help women make key fertility decisions.

The model, published Monday in the journal Human Reproduction, is meant to help a woman decide how many eggs to freeze, based on her age and the number of children she’d like to have. It also estimates how likely she is to have a child based on those recommendations.

“Rather than explicitly telling women how many eggs they should freeze or how many cycles they should undergo, we believe that our model will help women make informed choices based on the data that is available, and on their family-building goals,” first author Randi Goldman, a reproductive endocrinology fellow at BWH, said in a statement. 

While the tool can’t predict the future, it may provide valuable information to women trying to make emotionally and financially weighty decisions about fertility.

“Each woman will come to her own decision about whether more eggs and additional cycles are beneficial, because it is a personal decision,” Goldman said. “Would they want to increase their chances by 5 percent, 15 percent? At what cost?” 

The model—which is based upon data from 520 fertile women undergoing in vitro fertilization at BWH—was published in the study, but the researchers hope it will be digitized soon, so that it can be widely used by the public.


Jamie Ducharme Jamie Ducharme, Contributor jducharme@bostonmagazine.com