October 24, 2012 — Last week, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine announced that freezing human eggs for future fertilization should no longer be considered an "experimental" option, thus opening the door to a new option for women who are unsure whether they want to have a child someday, writes Sarah Elizabeth Richards, an author, in a New York Times opinion piece.
ASRM removed the technique's "experimental label" after reviewing four studies that found women were as likely to get pregnant if they used fresh or frozen eggs, Richards writes. The studies also found that "babies conceived from frozen eggs faced no increased risk of birth defects or developmental problems," she adds.
However, egg freezing "isn't a panacea," as it can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 and often is not covered by insurance, Richards notes. She also points out that the studies mostly involved women younger than age 35, so it is unclear how successful the technique will be for older women.
Although ob-gyns are "divided on whether it's their responsibly to broach the topic" of fertility with patients, women should be informed of their options, Richards argues. She calls on professional groups to "create pamphlets that doctors can give to patients" and for ob-gyn residents to learn how to "present the information in a nonbiased, nonalarmist way."
Ob-gyns should "bring up family planning at every annual visit, so that women have the information they need to choose to take charge of their fertility," Richards states (Richards, New York Times, 10/22).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership