February 28, 2024

Should egg freezing be every girl’s graduation gift?

Fertility expert warns that women should have children early.

At the same time as IVF experts in the UK issue dire warning to women that their fertility drops rapidly with age, they are also touting the possibility freezing their eggs as an insurance policy.

Dr Gillian Lockwood, of the Midland Fertility Centre, where half of Britain’s babies conceived from frozen eggs originated, told the London Times (and reported in the Daily Mail):

‘One part of me wants to say that [egg freezing] should be every dad’s graduation present for his daughter. It would be a very safe, low dose, and you could have 20 beautiful eggs in the freezer. ‘But – and it’s a very big but – I’m concerned about how that would alter a woman’s life choices, that they might think: “Well, instead of having a family with Mr Not Quite Perfect, I can afford to wait for Mr Absolutely perfect”.

In fact, women in Britain, as elsewhere in the developed world, are marrying later and delaying childbirth. The average age at a woman’s first child is now 31, compared to 24 in 1962.

Although freezing eggs in the late 30s may be next to useless, Dr Lockwood receives many queries from 38-year-old women. And even freezing eggs at 30 could affect a woman’s romantic prospects, she said.

‘Will it mean a woman waits around all her life for Mr Perfect, knowing she has healthy eggs from her 30-year-old self in the freezer, but then becomes bitter because she has rejected all the Mr Pretty Well Good Enoughs and found herself single and childless at 45, with frozen eggs that turned out not to work?’ 

Michael Cook
Creative commons
egg freezing