London - Egg-freezing has become so popular among women delaying having a baby that rates have more than tripled in five years.
Freezing allows women to store their eggs at a younger age so they can be used in IVF when they are ready for a family.
Private fertility clinics have held egg-freezing "parties", with some offering women prosecco and desserts as they promote putting motherhood on ice.
The latest figures show the number of egg-freezing cycles performed for women rose from 569 in 2013 to 1 933 in 2018, a 240 percent increase.
That is far beyond the rise seen for people having IVF, which went up by only 12 percent over the same period, according to the fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
Studies suggest many women freeze their eggs because they have not met Mr Right, or are with a partner who does not want a family yet.
When they are finally ready to have a child, the quality of the eggs in their body will have deteriorated with age. Using their younger, better quality frozen eggs may increase the odds of becoming pregnant.
Commenting on the latest figures, Dr Marco Gaudoin, medical director of GCRM Fertility in Glasgow, said: "We know that women are delaying having children to get on the property ladder and develop their careers.
"Evidence also suggests women are finding it harder to find their ideal partner, with a similar income and social status, in an ever-diminishing pool of eligible men, as there are increasingly more female than male graduates.
"Women know their fertility declines dramatically with age, so are increasingly realising a solution is to freeze their eggs when they are younger."
Sarah Norcross, director of fertility and genomics charity the Progress Educational Trust, said: "This shows women now see social egg freezing as a valid reproductive choice."
The annual Fertility Trends report from the HFEA says egg-freezing may be on the rise because the technology has improved and is more commonplace, although some of those freezing their eggs do so for medical reasons. It also presents the latest figures for fertility treatment, up to the end of 2018, when around 54 000 people had IVF or artificial insemination.
IVF fertilises a woman’s eggs with sperm in the laboratory, to create an embryo which is placed in her womb. The success rate improved in 2018, so that 23 per cent of embryos led to a surviving baby being born.
It was higher for under-35s, for whom 31 percent of embryos led to a baby – compared with nine percent 30 years ago. But the success rate was below five percent for women aged 43 and older.