Single women freeze their eggs to avoid 'panic parenting,' study finds

October 31, 2018, Taylor & Francis
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Most single women who freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons are doing so to avoid 'panic parenting' (entering into unwise relationships to have a genetically-related child), a new study published in Human Fertility finds.

The research also indicates that clinics need to be clearer about the likelihood of having a baby with these eggs in the future.

Dr. Kylie Baldwin and Professor Lorraine Culley, of the Centre for Reproduction Research at De Montfort University, interviewed 31 who had frozen their eggs for 'social' reasons. The participants, 84 per cent of whom were single, were asked why they had chosen to do this, how they found the experience, and what information they were provided about the probability of eventually achieving a with frozen eggs.

For the majority, the lack of a or having a partner unwilling to commit to fatherhood was the most common reason for egg freezing. Some described the process as something of an 'end in itself', providing them with more 'breathing time', and taking the pressure off the search for a suitable partner.

Many described how they hoped to never need to use their frozen eggs and instead expressed a desire to conceive naturally with a future partner. Several also reported that they found the process emotionally difficult as they fundamentally did not want to be freezing their eggs. Instead, they would have preferred to have been pursuing motherhood with a committed partner.

Worryingly, the information available to women considering freezing their eggs was found to be inadequate. Nearly all the women said that the clinics they approached were unable to provide an estimate of the likelihood of a future live birth with their frozen eggs. There was a lack of detailed discussion with doctors about post-freezing processes and outcomes, and the women, whose average age at the time of freezing was 37, were not given clinic- or age-specific information.

With rising numbers of women considering egg freezing, particularly in Europe, the study's authors call for more to be done to support women going through this process.

Dr. Baldwin said: "Whilst the number of women freezing their remains small, many more are now considering this option as a way of extending the window of time they have to pursue genetic motherhood. Clinics providing this technology have a responsibility to support informed decision-making by providing women who enquire about egg freezing with detailed information about the likelihood of achieving a live birth specific to their age at freezing.

"Furthermore, women should be informed of the costs and risks, as well as the physical and emotional demands of egg freezing and any future IVF treatment.

"Clinics should also be aware of the specific emotional needs of women undergoing who are more likely than IVF patients to be undertaking this uncertain and ambiguous process without the support of a partner."

Explore further: Egg freezing—the reality of putting your fertility on ice

More information: Human Fertility, www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/1 … 4647273.2018.1522456

Related Stories

Egg freezing—the reality of putting your fertility on ice

August 8, 2018
When people think of women freezing their eggs, it's often seen as something to do if you want to get ahead in your career – a way of delaying motherhood. Some companies have even offered funding for the procedure for their ...

Why women choose to freeze their eggs – new research

April 25, 2018
The numbers of women undergoing elective egg freezing across the Western world has increased rapidly over the past few years. But little was known about what motivated women to make use of this novel procedure. Our latest ...

Only seven percent of social egg freezers have returned for fertility treatment at a large European center

July 4, 2018
Despite dramatic uptake in the numbers of women electing to freeze their eggs as insurance against an anticipated age-related fertility decline, there is still little that clinics can predict about outcome based on real-life ...

Partnership problems and not career planning mainly explain why women are freezing their eggs

July 2, 2018
Contrary to common suggestion, women are opting to freeze their eggs not to pursue education or careers but for reasons "mostly revolving around women's lack of stable partnerships with men committed to marriage and parenting". ...

Novel tool informs women about elective egg freezing

February 7, 2017
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine lifted the experimental status for egg freezing in October 2012, and since then the popularity of elective egg freezing has been on the rise. Although primarily intended for ...

Researchers shed new light on egg freezing success rates

May 29, 2013
Researchers from New York Medical College and the University of California Davis have for the first time codified age-specific probabilities of live birth after in vitro fertilization (IVF) with frozen eggs. A team of researchers ...

Recommended for you

Human Cell Atlas study reveals maternal immune system modifications in early pregnancy

November 14, 2018
The first Human Cell Atlas study of early pregnancy in humans has shown how the function of the maternal immune system is affected by cells from the developing placenta. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Newcastle ...

Soy formula feeding during infancy associated with severe menstrual pain in adulthood

November 9, 2018
New research suggests that infant girls fed soy formula are more likely to develop severe menstrual pain as young adults. The finding adds to the growing body of literature that suggests exposure to soy formula during early ...

A major role for a small organ in the immune response during pregnancy

November 9, 2018
The immune system of a pregnant woman is altered during pregnancy, but not in the way previously believed, according to results from a study at Linköping University, Sweden. This study, published in the Journal of Allergy ...

Mailed HPV tests can help find women at-risk for cervical cancer, study finds

November 7, 2018
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have found that mailing self-collection kits to test for high-risk human papillomavirus infection has the potential to boost cervical cancer ...

Women who give birth to boys much more likely to have postnatal depression

November 6, 2018
A University of Kent study into postnatal depression (PND) found the odds of developing this condition increased by 79% when mothers had baby boys compared to baby girls.

New study takes first step toward treating endometriosis

November 1, 2018
Researchers at Northwestern Medicine have taken the first step in bioengineering the human uterus to treat endometriosis, uterine-factor infertility and endometrial cancer.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.