How Long Do Frozen Embryos Last?

Frozen Embryos last 30 years or more.

Indefinitely But It’s Complex

In 2022 a couple welcomed twins from 30 year-old frozen embryos that had been donated to them. Amazing fact: The dad of the twins was only five years old himself when the embryos were frozen. Many experts believe they were the longest-frozen embryos to result in live births, though there have been other births from embryos over 20 years old.

In The Scheme of Things, IVF is Still Fairly New

Doctors and specialists have only been using frozen embryos for IVF for a little more than 35 years. It’s been about 30 years since enough couples turned to IVF that a number of embryos went into storage. Frozen 30-year-old embryos are likely about the oldest there are, and there’s no such thing, yet, as a 40-year-old frozen embryo to try.

Not A Lot of Frozen Embryos Sitting Around

If you Google it, the web will tell you there are either a couple hundred thousand or up to a million frozen embryos stored in the United States. But the truth is, no one has ever done a count; they’ve just guessed. The count would change every single day anyway, and those in the industry would caution that not all embryos could result in a viable pregnancy.

Most people don’t keep their embryos frozen. So, let’s just say you finished building your family. You’re very happy with your three kids — you’re ready to move on. If you had extra embryos, most people are not donating them for adoption. They’re uncomfortable with that option. Some people discard, and a very small percentage of people donate. And even with those donations, many of those embryos never make pregnancies.

It’s still most common for IVF patients to want to use their own egg and sperm, so the market for donated embryos is not huge. Though the answer to the question of how long embryos can last is that they can stay frozen for your lifetime (or as long as someone is paying to store them), the decision on how long to let them remain in a deep freeze is the final tough call for each set of IVF parents.

About Southwest Fertility Center

Infertility treatment specialists at Southwest Fertility Center have been helping patients since 1980.  Our team of fertility specialists has established a well-earned reputation for successfully helping couples through fertility issues. When you visit our office, we will take our time to get to know you so that we can provide a set of treatment options that best fit your individual needs. We take great pride in our non-discrimination policies and we accept all patients regardless of their prior medical conditions or sexual orientation. Our staff of medical professionals is dedicated to providing you with the patience and compassion you deserve. For more information regarding our treatment options, financing, or to discuss your individual treatment needs, speak with one of our staff members today. 602-956-7481.