Want to Freeze Your Eggs? First, Face Reality

CommentaryIn a recent op-ed for the Washington Examiner, I outlined the reasons why a number of major U.S. companies are in favor of abortion. Interestingly, many of the very same companies are also in favor of egg freezing. For example, Facebook, Apple, Google, Uber, and Yahoo all offer female employees the option of freezing their eggs. These companies, we’re told, want to provide their employees with greater levels of family planning freedom; have a child, they say, on your own terms, when you’re ready. Others, however, suggest that companies offer the service for one reason and one reason only: to emphasize the importance of work, and in doing so, deemphasize the importance of starting a family. In 2015, 5 percent of U.S. employers with 500 employees or more covered egg freezing; by 2020, the figure had risen to 20 percent. Marketed, somewhat deceptively, as the highest form of self-care, egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, comes with many risks. As more women reassess their priorities, important questions need to be asked. By choosing to freeze their eggs, women are told that they are protecting their reproductive futures. The facts, however, paint a very different picture. Although women under the age of 35 who freeze their eggs have a 70 percent to 90 percent chance of a successful pregnancy, the average age at which women now bank their eggs is 37. Being pregnant after the age of 35 makes certain complications far more likely, including premature birth and birth defects. According to a Guardian report, “the proportion of frozen eggs that leads to a successful birth among females aged 36 to 39 is 3.3%.” As Professor Adam Belen, a specialist at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told the BBC, as more women over 35 opt to freeze their eggs, they must be made aware of the “relatively low success rates.” For women, fertility peaks around the age of 30. After this, there is a rapid decline in a woman’s ability to get pregnant. Once a woman enters her 40s, a successful pregnancy becomes increasingly unlikely. However, this biological fact hasn’t stopped an increasing number of women in their 40s from freezing their eggs. Now, before I am accused of being a judgmental, misogynistic pig, let me state the following: a woman, like a man, is free to do as she wishes with her own body, as long as it’s legal. I simply wish to shed more light on the misleading female empowerment narrative being pushed by major U.S. companies. “Let’s liberate you from your biological clocks,” they tell their female employees. At the same time, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) tells the very same women not to listen. If you happen to be a healthy woman, the ACOG does not, under any circumstances, support the use of egg freezing to postpone childbirth. ACOG members previously warned that there’s simply not enough evidence “to recommend oocyte cryopreservation for the sole purpose of circumventing reproductive aging in healthy women.” According to Dr. Samantha Butts, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, egg freezing should only ever be used by women who find themselves battling a potentially devastating disease that could destroy their fertility. Moreover, the egg freezing process is draining, not to mention a highly-invasive one. It also happens to be rather dangerous. To freeze one’s eggs, the ovaries must first be stimulated. To do this, a woman must take a cocktail of drugs. The consumption of vast quantities of drugs can result in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This potentially life-threatening condition causes blood clots in a person’s lungs and other vital organs. Lastly, the freezing of eggs comes at a time when fewer women are choosing to get married. Women are constantly reminded that they should strive to be independent. Independent of what exactly? Men. Not surprisingly, an increasing number of women who choose to freeze their eggs do so without a partner. This is not to say that these women won’t find a partner, of course. But the trend certainly paints an interesting and rather worrying picture. The rise in egg freezing also comes at the same time as more people are living, and dying, alone, a development that will most certainly become more profound as the years move forward. Men and women have complementary qualities; we are better together than we are apart. We evolved to live in communities, to raise children together. Sadly, we appear desperate to rewrite the very rules that served our ancestors so well. Egg freezing, it seems, is just the latest, risky addition to this unnecessary rewrite. For many women, especially those above the age of 35, egg freezing could prove to be an emotionally and physically taxing experience, not to mention a highly traumatic one. Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The E

Want to Freeze Your Eggs? First, Face Reality

Commentary

In a recent op-ed for the Washington Examiner, I outlined the reasons why a number of major U.S. companies are in favor of abortion. Interestingly, many of the very same companies are also in favor of egg freezing.

For example, Facebook, Apple, Google, Uber, and Yahoo all offer female employees the option of freezing their eggs. These companies, we’re told, want to provide their employees with greater levels of family planning freedom; have a child, they say, on your own terms, when you’re ready.

Others, however, suggest that companies offer the service for one reason and one reason only: to emphasize the importance of work, and in doing so, deemphasize the importance of starting a family.

In 2015, 5 percent of U.S. employers with 500 employees or more covered egg freezing; by 2020, the figure had risen to 20 percent. Marketed, somewhat deceptively, as the highest form of self-care, egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, comes with many risks. As more women reassess their priorities, important questions need to be asked.

By choosing to freeze their eggs, women are told that they are protecting their reproductive futures. The facts, however, paint a very different picture. Although women under the age of 35 who freeze their eggs have a 70 percent to 90 percent chance of a successful pregnancy, the average age at which women now bank their eggs is 37.

Being pregnant after the age of 35 makes certain complications far more likely, including premature birth and birth defects. According to a Guardian report, “the proportion of frozen eggs that leads to a successful birth among females aged 36 to 39 is 3.3%.”

As Professor Adam Belen, a specialist at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, told the BBC, as more women over 35 opt to freeze their eggs, they must be made aware of the “relatively low success rates.”

For women, fertility peaks around the age of 30. After this, there is a rapid decline in a woman’s ability to get pregnant. Once a woman enters her 40s, a successful pregnancy becomes increasingly unlikely. However, this biological fact hasn’t stopped an increasing number of women in their 40s from freezing their eggs.

Now, before I am accused of being a judgmental, misogynistic pig, let me state the following: a woman, like a man, is free to do as she wishes with her own body, as long as it’s legal. I simply wish to shed more light on the misleading female empowerment narrative being pushed by major U.S. companies. “Let’s liberate you from your biological clocks,” they tell their female employees.

At the same time, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) tells the very same women not to listen. If you happen to be a healthy woman, the ACOG does not, under any circumstances, support the use of egg freezing to postpone childbirth. ACOG members previously warned that there’s simply not enough evidence “to recommend oocyte cryopreservation for the sole purpose of circumventing reproductive aging in healthy women.”

According to Dr. Samantha Butts, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, egg freezing should only ever be used by women who find themselves battling a potentially devastating disease that could destroy their fertility.

Moreover, the egg freezing process is draining, not to mention a highly-invasive one. It also happens to be rather dangerous. To freeze one’s eggs, the ovaries must first be stimulated. To do this, a woman must take a cocktail of drugs. The consumption of vast quantities of drugs can result in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This potentially life-threatening condition causes blood clots in a person’s lungs and other vital organs.

Lastly, the freezing of eggs comes at a time when fewer women are choosing to get married. Women are constantly reminded that they should strive to be independent. Independent of what exactly? Men.

Not surprisingly, an increasing number of women who choose to freeze their eggs do so without a partner. This is not to say that these women won’t find a partner, of course. But the trend certainly paints an interesting and rather worrying picture.

The rise in egg freezing also comes at the same time as more people are living, and dying, alone, a development that will most certainly become more profound as the years move forward. Men and women have complementary qualities; we are better together than we are apart. We evolved to live in communities, to raise children together. Sadly, we appear desperate to rewrite the very rules that served our ancestors so well. Egg freezing, it seems, is just the latest, risky addition to this unnecessary rewrite.

For many women, especially those above the age of 35, egg freezing could prove to be an emotionally and physically taxing experience, not to mention a highly traumatic one.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US, among others. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.