How Long Are Eggs Viable?

How long will my eggs be viable?
profile picture of Jackie Gutmann, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia
ByJackie Gutmann, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia
Fertility Specialist
Updated
Mar 2017
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If you’re talking about what’s taking place inside your body each month: There’s a pretty limited shelf life once the egg is released from an ovary; an egg can hang out in the fallopian tubes unfertilized for about 12 to 24 hours, but after that, it will quickly be absorbed by the surrounding tissue. If you’re thinking in terms of how long you have before you won’t be able to pop a baby out on your own: Most women will start to become less fertile starting in their mid 30s, and by their mid-40s it becomes very difficult for most women to get pregnant using their own eggs.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about preserving eggs in a frozen vault, you’ve got quite a bit more time. Scientists don’t know exactly how long a frozen egg will last but most recommend keeping eggs frozen for only a few years. That said, there is a possibility of achieving a viable pregnancy over a substantially longer time frame. There’s at least one documented case of a baby born from an egg that was 29 years old. (Wow!)
 
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