Saturday, September 24, 2022

The Risks in Egg Freezing

Now they tell us. As you might know, the latest in reproductive science involves egg freezing. It has become increasingly popular with feminists. Given that these intrepid souls refuse to be bound by biology, they have gotten into the habit of freezing their eggs, in order to extend their fertility. This allows them to pursue career goals when they are in their twenties and thirties, then, when they are in their forties to go out and find that perfect husband, one who will only marry them if they can still procreate.

One might suggest, as one has on numerous occasions, that doing it the old fashioned way is not such a bad idea. 

Now, as many have reported and as many more have suspected, the New York Times tells us that the chances of a viable birth from a frozen egg are slim. 

They depend on the age at which a woman froze her eggs and how many eggs she froze. The Times does not mention it, but the process also depends on the refrigeration being used at the clinic. A blackout might end the process definitively.

Anyway, the Times has this story:

The procedure of egg-freezing is an increasingly popular, but expensive, option for women who want to delay childbirth. But new research documents some caveats: how old a woman is when she freezes her eggs and how many eggs she freezes make a significant difference in whether she will have a baby. Most women who tried to become pregnant, the study found, did not succeed, often because they had waited until they were too old to freeze eggs and had not frozen enough of them.

Obviously, this is cautionary. But it is certainly a good thing that young women understand the realities and the probabilities. By freezing eggs to advance their careers they are taking a risk. And not just the risk of never having children. Do you think that a woman who has attained the age of forty something, and who has devoted herself to career advancement is valued as marriage material.

Apparently, the information does not come as a surprise to physicians who are involved in the process:

Dr. Marcelle Cedars, professor and director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at the University of California San Francisco who was not involved in the study, said that although it involved just a single fertility clinic, “it is a center that is unique for its long duration of follow-up.”

The data, she said, “are sobering” and “should give women pause.” Dr. Cedars, who is also the president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, or A.S.R.M., added that many women “are overly optimistic” about their chances of having a baby when they freeze their eggs. It is not, as many assume, an insurance policy.

“The pregnancy rate is not as good as I think a lot of women think it will be,” she said. “I always tell patients, ‘There’s not a baby in the freezer. There’s a chance to get pregnant.’”

As for the statistics, they are sobering:

The overall chance of a live birth from the frozen eggs was 39 percent. But among women who were younger than 38 when they froze their eggs, the live birthrate was 51 percent. It rose to 70 percent if women younger than 38 also thawed 20 or more eggs.

The age of the woman when she used the eggs to try to have a baby did not make a difference — all that mattered was how old a woman was when she froze her eggs and how many she froze.

As often happens in these matters, God has the last word.


Linda Fox said...

Why, it's ALMOST as though women were "meant" to have their children young!

Oh, NO! That cannot be! Feminists have asserted for years that the optimal age for starting a family is around 28-35. They COULDN'T be wrong!

I was, at the time I had my first child in 1976, rather old for my working class neighborhood - 25. I had 3 kids in 4 years - yes, I went slightly out of my mind for a few years, but then, it was much more manageable. And, I had the advantage of kids who played together and entertained each other - they are quite close even as adults.

My youngest daughter had her first at 21 - at that age, she was also a step-parent to her 9 year old step-son (since adopted). She had another child 2 years later, and returned to complete her degree and go to work by her late 20s. It did not ruin her chances of a career.

My son waited until 38 for his son. The mother was 23. Guys can wait for a lot longer; women have to strike while the eggs are fresh.

I remember a Dr. Oz show about late-in-life fertility. He simply could NOT persuade the middle-aged women in the audience that their lower fertility made the likelihood of their getting pregnant just about zero.

"But, Dr., I LOOK like I'm in my 20s!"

"But, you have middle-aged eggs."

Anonymous said...

What about a young woman who reaches 30 years old and has not found the right partner? Should she just go to a sperm bank and become a single mother? Or rush into a relationship that will end in divorce? Freezing eggs at this stage is a good alternative.

Freddo said...

"Freezing eggs at this stage is a good alternative." More: freezing eggs may (have) look(ed) like a good backup strategy. Alas, science is now telling us people have been sold on an inaccurate bill of goods with unfortunate consequences.

Tilcut Hassayampa said...

If I ever get into a relationship with a woman who owns frozen ova, there is no way I would conceive a child by ejaculating into a plastic cup.