Recent years have seen an increase in the number of women freezing their eggs for future use, establishing a trend that can be seen across every state in Australia. Over this time clinics themselves have also made information regarding the processes behind egg freezing and IVF more accessible to the wider general public.

In the two years from 2016 to 2018, national Australian IVF clinics have seen a 48% increase in the number of women freezing their eggs. This incredible increase of nearly double that of previous years has been the result of a number of social and economic factors, as well as the increasing knowledge of the methods behind the process of freezing eggs.

What is egg-freezing?

Originally, freezing eggs was an option available for oncology patients who were about to undergo cancer treatment, designed to protect their chances of fertility in the future. However, over the last 20 years there has been an increased interest in egg freezing by the general population. Treatment is now available to anyone, regardless of health conditions or potential future fertility problems. As women have a finite number of eggs, which decreases dramatically after the age of 40, egg freezing has become popular for those choosing to start families later.

Frozen eggs can be stored for many years; in some cases, a pregnancy has even occurred after the eggs have been frozen for 14 years.  When women are ready to use frozen eggs, the eggs are warmed, fertilised with sperm and then if an embryo develops it will be transferred to the woman’s uterus through IVF processes.

Why are so many women considering freezing their eggs?

In times gone by, the majority of women were married and had started a family by their twenties, with only 23% of the female population in 1991 having their first child over the age of 30. This figure has since increased to 48% by 2016. While the prime fertility age for most women being on average between the ages of 20 and 35, some women are not ready to become mothers at this age.

There are a number of reasons for this. Some women have not met the right person who they would like to start a family with, others have chosen to focus on careers and establish themselves in businesses which (depending on the individual) they feel leaves them little time for both dating and motherhood. Other women who would consider having children may have experienced a change in relationship status or the ending of a long-term relationship, and are re-assessing when they will meet someone new who they might want to have children with.

The process of freezing eggs

Women undergo a self-administered hormonal stimulation for 10 to 12 days which enables 6 to 15 eggs to mature. Stimulation comes in the form of an injection which can be done at home after instruction from the clinic. The only currently known side effect from the stimulation is cases of mild bloating.

The eggs themselves are then collected from the ovaries using a probe guided by ultrasound. This part of the procedure is carried out under light-to-general anaesthetic, with the patient usually allowed to go home one to two hours afterwards.

Once the eggs are in the laboratory, they are frozen through a procedure called vitrification. Vitrification involves the rapid freezing and extraction of all fluids to prevent damaging ice forming on the eggs. Once this is completed, the eggs can be stored for many years.


Pregnancy rate after freezing

Success depends on the quality of the egg at the time of freezing. The health of eggs can be negatively affected by:

  • Age and individual genetic makeup.
  • Smoking, poor diet and obesity.
  • Chronic medical conditions (including diabetes and high blood pressure).

On average, for every 10 to 15 eggs that are frozen by someone under the age of 35, 1 pregnancy could be expected. For women 35 years old and under, 1 stimulation cycle (collection of 12-15 eggs) will produce between seven and nine eggs suitable for freezing and storage

  • Approximately 80-90% of these eggs survive the warming process.
  • Approximately 50-80% of those surviving eggs would fertilise.
  • Approximately 80-90% of fertilised eggs develop into an embryo.
  • 1 single embryo has a 20-30% chance of developing into a pregnancy.

A simple blood test can be done when a woman is in her thirties to assess her fertility before undergoing egg freezing. However, IVF Australia reminds us, don’t leave it too late!

Financial Costs

Medicare and other government subsidies are available, but they will only pay for fertility treatment when there is a medical indication. Individual cycle costs vary according to circumstance as well as clinics across the country.

Mahsa Fatantoni of NewsDaily did an investigation into the costs of the procedure in 2018. Her figures indicate the following:

  • Between 2016 and 2018 there was a 48% increase in the number of women freezing their eggs.
  • In Melbourne clinics their patient numbers doubled in the space of two years.
  • IVF Australia in 2018 cost $6885 per cycle of freezing.
    • This did not cover the cost of the hormonal stimulation which can run into the $1000s.
    • There is an additional $500 per year storage cost for the eggs
    • The cost for thawing, fertilising and transplanting the eggs (IVF) is $3650.

These figures vary from clinic to clinic, with Melbourne IVF costing nearly $2000 more for the egg cycle than IVF Australia, but with a lower per year storage cost.


IVF Australia’s medical director, Associate Professor Peter Illingworth, says,

If women wish to freeze their eggs, they should regard it as a backup and not as the main plan.”

Dr Rozen of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that it is not usually necessary for young women, particularly those in their early twenties, to freeze their eggs as they usually fall pregnant naturally.


Dear Dr Benson,

What are the symptoms of low B-group vitamins?

Do the symptoms and health risks differ between different B-group vitamins?

The B-group vitamins are water soluble vitamins once thought to be a single vitamin.

Later it was discovered that they are in fact 8 distinctly different chemical compounds that just happen to often coexist in the same foods.

As a general rule the B-group vitamins play a role in metabolism, cellular growth, and maintaining healthy skin and neurological function.

As a general rule the B-group vitamins play a role in metabolism, cellular growth, and maintaining healthy skin and neurological function.

As the B-group vitamins are water soluble and essentially unable to be stored, they generally need to be replenished daily, with any excess excreted in the urine.

Deficiencies in people living in the developed world with sufficient access to and intake of a well balanced diet is thus rare, and the use of dietary supplementswith large amounts of B-group vitamins simply results in money literally going down the toilet!

There are 4 specific B-group vitamin deficiency states that are well recognised however…

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) deficiency, known as Beriberi, is still occasionally seen in our society amongst those with poor diets often associated with chronic alcoholism.

It is a life threatening disease with the potential to cause heart and neurological problems.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) deficiency, known as Pelagra, is now rarely seen in developed countries, except in those with very poor diets or people with various psychiatric conditions who refuse to eat. The classical symptoms are known as “the four D’s”: diarrhoea, dermatitis, dementia, and death.

Vitamin B12 (technically a family of chemically-related compounds) deficiency is sometimes seen in vegans not taking supplements, as the active form of this vitamin in humans can only be sourced from animal products.

It can also be seen among elderly people as absorption through the gut declines with age, and in those with the condition known as Pernicious anaemia.

Vitamin B12is important for the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood.

As a result, deficiency can lead to serious conditions such as anaemia, weakness, nerve damage and cognitive impairment.

Deficiency most commonly results in reduced formation of red blood cells leading to anaemia, and has been implicated in the development of neural tube defects in developing babies; therefore, pregnant women are advised to take supplements prior to conception, and throughout the first trimester.

Lastly, Vitamin B9 (Folate) is also necessary for the production and maintenance of new cells, and is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as infancy and pregnancy.

Deficiency most commonly results in reduced formation of red blood cells leading to anaemia, and has been implicated in the development of neural tube defects in developing babies; therefore, pregnant women are advised to take supplements prior to conception, and throughout the first trimester. 

Deficiency is still occasionally seen in those with poor diets, often in chronic alcoholics, despite the widespread fortification of flour with Folate.

How much does one little baby actually need? Your baby shopping list might seem overwhelming, but you don’t need all the bells and whistles. Offspring has created a guide to help you work out the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.

Before you hit the shops it is important to do some research. Look for product reviews online and talk to other mums about what they found most useful. Going to the shops unprepared can be overwhelming (just how many additional features can a pram have?) and it can be very easy to overspend when you are surrounded cute baby clothes.

Out and about

The first trips outside of the home with a newborn can seem scary, but you don’t need to pack like you are going away on a holiday.

The must-haves

Car restraint

You must have a rear-ward facing car-restraint that meets Australian Standards sorted before you bring your baby home from hospital. Many car seats will be suitable for your child from birth up to four years old, so as well as being an important piece of safety equipment, it is something you will be using every day for years.

Your decision will be determined by:
The space you have available (if you have more than one child you might need a slimline car seat to fit all the car seats across your car’s backseat).
You might decide on a travel system with a capsule that attaches to a pram frame. Some parents love this option, as it is easier to get baby out of the car without disturbing them, however, babies do outgrow this option quickly.

TIP: It’s a good idea to add to your to-do list to get your car restraint professionally installed by a local fitter to help ensure it is correctly fitted and safe to bring your newborn home in.


There are so many options when it comes to purchasing a pram, it can seem like you are purchasing a car. Features and prices can vary considerably.

The intended use of the pram. Do you want a pram that you can exercise with (to put your baby in when you go running or for long walks) or will it mainly be used to go to the shops or short trips?
How big the pram is. It is important to check that the pram will fit in the boot of your car.

Check how easy the pram is to fold. If it is too complicated or heavy it will make it difficult for you to get the pram in and out of the car’s boot.
A big consideration is if you also have a toddler, are expecting twins or are planning on having babies close in age. Twin or double prams are available (but be sure to check the width is practical to go shopping to fit through the aisles, for example) or configurations are available with toddler skateboards at the back of the pram, for example.

Second hand gems!
Purchasing or being gifted second hand baby items are a great way to save some money – and as many baby products are used for such a short time, you might find they are in brand new condition! However, it is important to carefully check the condition of things like cots, mattresses and car seats if you are considering hand-me-down options. Ensure any product is safe and meets relevant Australian Standards.

Nice to have

A nappy bag

Some sort of bag is definitely important so you have some nappies and spare clothes on-hand, as well as bottles if bottle feeding, and toys etc. Some nappy bags revival designer handbags with stylish designs and multiple storage compartments (including in-build change mat and insulated bottle carrier) but for the budget conscious, you can also get away with any practical bag or backpack.

Baby carrier

This is a personal choice and for some parents, a good baby carrier will supersede a pram. It is certainly useful to be able to carry your baby and keep your hands free to do the shopping, for example, and is a great option for using in the outdoors when going for a walk. A supportive baby carrier can also be handy to use at home to settle your baby.

Portable cot

A portable cot is definitely not on the must-have list, but can be very handy, especially if you are planning on going on holidays or to be used at a babysitter or grandparent’s home for naps or sleepovers.

Other travel products to consider: pram liner, trolley cover, rain cover/sunshade for pram, ‘Baby on Board’ car sign, car window shades.

Going to sleep

It is important to create a comfortable and most importantly safe environment for your baby to sleep in.

Must haves


A cot is an expensive investment, but if you are considering using a family heirloom or second-hand find, it is important to ensure it meets current Australian safety guidelines. There are many cots to suit your needs, including cots that convert to a toddler bed at a later stage. A good quality, clean mattress that properly fits in the cot is also a necessity.

A good quality, waterproof mattress protector is essential to ensure your baby’s cot mattress stays in good condition. Purchase two or three so you have spares for when you are doing the washing.

There are many options when it comes to wraps, swaddles, sleeping bags and baby blankets. Again, ensure you have a few options, so you have spares for when you are doing the washing. Some babies love to be swaddled, while some love to be able to have their little arms out in a sleeping bag, so test out what option is going to be best suited to your baby.

Nice to have

A bassinet

This will only be used for the first couple of months, so it isn’t a necessity. However, a bassinet can be very handy during those first few weeks, as a bassinet is easy to move around the house.

A baby monitor

If your baby is in their own room, it can be comforting to be able to easily hear them if they wake during the night. Some monitors are quite sophisticated, with options including video monitoring. Some monitors are also available that doubles as a night light, and some monitors also monitor a baby’s movement, to provide additional peace-of-mind.

Other sleep products to consider: White noise machine, room thermometer, night light.

Feeding time

Your feeding essentials will differ depending on whether you choose to breast or formula-feed.


Breast pads are essential if breastfeeding to prevent embarrassing leaks. Disposable pads are available, or reusable pads can be washed and used again and again.

Bottles and teats are essential if you are formula feeding or if you want to express breastmilk. There are many styles of bottles and teats available and sometimes it can take a while to work out which ones will suit your baby, so don’t buy too much until you try them out for yourself.

High chair

When your baby starts solids, a high chair will be used regularly. High chairs range from very basic options to deluxe designs with padded seating and adjustable backs. Whatever you choose, remember that this is where your child will be eating (which often means mess!), so it is very important to ensure it can easily be cleaned.

Nice to have

Breast pump

This might be an essential item if you are breastfeeding (especially if you want to express some feeds) but you don’t have to buy one as they can often be hired at your local chemist.

A steriliser

A steriliser isn’t optional (you can always sterilise by boil bottles, teats and feeding gear in a large pot), but a steriliser can certainly be handy.

Mess Mat

This is useful to put under the highchair to catch any food that falls from the highchair.

Other feeding products to consider: Mess Mat, bibs, suction bowls, bottle warmer, bottle drying rack.

Nappy changes

You will be changing many nappies over the next couple of years! Here’s what to get:

Must haves

Nappies and wipes

Whether you choose disposable or cloth options, you will need a good supply of nappies and wipes. However, it is advisable not to go overboard and buy too many nappies before you have bub. Firstly, babies grow very quickly so if you buy boxes and boxes of newborn disposable nappies, chances are your baby will outgrow them before you use them all. For cloth nappies, it might best to try different brands to find the best fit for your baby.

Change mat

Whether for out-and-about or to use at home, a good quality and easy-to-clean change mat is a must to keep nappy changing mess contained.

Nice to have

Change table

For some parents, a change table is essential as a dedicated nappy changing space. Other parents might use a change mat on top of a dresser or might change their baby on a bed. Do whatever works for you!

Barrier creams

Your baby might never get nappy rash, but if they do there are many nappy rash creams on the market. Some parents like to use a barrier cream as nappy rash preventative after each nappy change (talk to your pharmacist or health care professional about the best option for your baby).

Other nappy change products to consider: Wipes warmer, nappy bin, soaking bucket

TIP: Nappy changes can be tough on your hands, so get a good quality hand moisturiser to help keep your skin in good shape after all that hand washing. Hand sanitiser is also a good idea to have on-hand in your nappy bag for nappy changes on-the-go.

First aid
For peace of mind, some first aid items are a good idea to have on-hand when you bring baby home. Saline solution, baby paracetamol (ensuring it is only used according to directions) and a baby thermometer are good products to have handy in the early months.

Baby clothes

Of cute, tiny baby clothes! It is tempting to go overboard, but your baby will not need too much. Remember, baby clothes will be one of the most popular gifts or hand-me-downs you are likely to get from family friends, so to start off with, buy what you think you will need for the early weeks.


Must haves

Several onesies

Remember, even in the warmer months, hospitals can be quite cool due to air-conditioning, so get some long sleeved, as well as short sleeved in the Summer months. 0000 is a common size for a newborn but get a couple of 000 if you are expecting a big baby.


Get a sun hat for the warmer months or beanie for the cooler months.


Tiny socks can double up as mittens in the early days to stop a baby from scratching themselves. Buy a few pairs – one sock can easily fall off and go missing.

Nice to have

Fancy outfit

Cute little outfits, such as tiny dresses, suits or little tracksuits look adorable on a new baby, but they are not necessary. However, you might like to buy a special outfit for taking baby home from the hospital.