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Is Egg Freezing Actually Helping Women Have Children?

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Since 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Therapy announced freezing your eggs is safe, which doubled the number of women who underwent the procedure. Which sounds like a wonderful alternative for many women who want children, but not right now.

At NPR, however, Eliza Barclay has found that the birth rate resulting from frozen eggs has remained low. So, what does this actually indicate? In general, marketing campaigns tend to focus on affluent, career-minded women who haven’t married yet, or want to wait to start a family.

However, there is one glaring flaw, which bioethics and law professor John Robertson pointed out to NPR:

READ: Alone & Freezing My Eggs–This is Not What I Expected

“The problem is it may be marketed to women who are in the older age group who may have very little chance of obtaining viable eggs. So it’s extremely important that there be full disclosure at every step of the process.”

Why is that a problem? It means that young women, who are the ones to benefit most, probably aren’t thinking about kids yet, and definitely don’t have the dough. For the Daily Beast, Emily Shire wrote how it’s more confusing when you’re younger to know if it’s even worth the cost:

“In some ways, the question of whether to freeze one’s eggs is in some ways more difficult to answer when you’re younger—not only because you have less of a sense of one’s future careers and relationships, but because there’s a trickier balancing act between cost and time.”

And even more puzzling is the fact that many women aren’t actually using their frozen eggs–according to NPR, only about 20-24% of live births result from egg freezing since 2009 in the U.S. In the UK, it’s even less, at only 20 pregnancies resulting from egg freezing.

Many critics feel the expensive procedure gives false hope to older women; there is not enough data to prove its effectiveness. Since there is a lack of data, it’s hard to make grand statements about the usefulness of egg freezing, but the statistics we do have should definitely make any woman skeptical.

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