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Chris Barry

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Why women choose to freeze their eggs

 

The past few years have marked a notable increase in the number of women in western cultures who’ve elected to freeze their eggs, but to date no one has provided a reasonable explanation as to what caused the sudden rise in the practice. The prevailing wisdom has it that women freeze their eggs for career reasons, except new research recently published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology has shown this assumption to be incorrect. According to the study’s results, the most commonly provided reason why women freeze their eggs is so they can have enough time to find a suitable partner and avoid the “panic partnering” that frequently occurs to childless women as their internal clocks click ever closer to middle-age.

The study in question was based on 31 women, all stating the fear of growing too old to have children as the primary impetus behind their egg freezing. The most prominent concern among them was that age might create obstacles between their ever becoming a parent in an intimate, mutually committed relationship.

The study reported that at the time of their egg freezing, five of the women were in relationships while the other 26 were single. The women in relationships believed their current partners either lacked longevity potential or that their relationships were still too fresh to accurately evaluate their lovers as potential fathers to their children.

The single women all recounted previous relationships where their ex-partner was not ready for fatherhood or simply wasn’t capable of sustaining a long-term union. The most common reason for freezing, reported over and over again, was the simple bid to prolong fertility while struggling to find a suitable mate.

The Fear of Panic Partnering

Approximately two-thirds of the women who took part in the study reported a fear of “panic partnering”, opting to freeze their eggs in the effort to avoid finding themselves in this situation a little further down the road. Panic partnering is defined as settling for a relationship with somebody for the simple fact that you don’t want to be left childless. Finding themselves in their late thirties with no children or a suitable mate sets some women into a frenzy to conceive. Women in this state were known to try and conceive with the first man they date, regardless of their suitability as potential fathers. Freezing their eggs could help these panic-stricken women to avoid conceiving irrationally with the wrong man and enable them to pursue motherhood with a more ideal partner in the future.

Slightly more than one-third of the women who participated in the study claimed the reason for freezing their eggs was the fear of regret if they didn’t. Most said they were concerned the day might come later in life when they wished they would’ve done so and they wouldn’t be able to forgive themselves for passing on the opportunity.

Health Issues

Another 20 percent of the women in the study cited fertility issues or health problems as a factor in choosing to freeze their eggs. Polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes and the risk of premature menopause were the most commonly offered maladies inciting their decision.

Contrary to the popular orthodoxy, it’s emerged that career and professional issues are the least likely reasons why some women decide to freeze their eggs. While older studies pay mention to it, women participating in newer research categorically reject the notion.

Some blame religion and the media for stigmatizing women who choose to have children later in life as people who callously put their careers ahead of family or children. While there’s obviously nothing wrong with women waiting to have children in the first place, this assertion simply isn’t true. Overwhelmingly, women choose to wait until they’re confident they’ve found the right mate and time to have children so they can be the best mothers they can possibly be. Freezing their eggs helps them to do so.