The surprising reason why women are freezing their eggs

Turns out, it's not actually about furthering our careers after all. Or at least, not exclusively

There’s something about egg freezing which just sounds reassuring. Like getting the opportunity to press snooze on our biological alarm clocks, and stick a middle finger up at the people behind these Fertility Day adverts. If it was free, we’d probably all be doing it.

But until now, we’ve always been told that one of the main reasons why increasing numbers of women are paying to freeze their eggs is because they want to progress in their careers. We all know that women who have children earn less on average than their male counterparts (in fact, that’s often where the gender pay gap starts appearing), so by and large, that argument would make sense.

However a new study into egg freezing in the UK has revealed that actually, women in Britain aren’t freezing their eggs because they’re torn between progressing in their careers and spending nine months incubating a tiny human in their stomachs.

They’re freezing their eggs because they haven’t found anyone that they’d like to spend nine months incubating a tiny human in their stomachs with.

‘Women weren’t engaging with technology for their career, they didn’t necessarily seek to delay, [or] put off motherhood, but it was very much more about they wanted to pursue motherhood at the right time, in the right way, with this right partner,’ said lead researcher Kylie Baldwin, of the Reproduction Research group at the UK’s De Montfort University.

‘Women’s use of this technology is often driven by their relationships with men,’ said Baldwin. ‘Instead of it being focused on egg freezing being a women’s concern, I think it needs to be broadened – I think men need to be brought into the picture more and there needs to be a more well-rounded understanding about why women engage with this technology.”It wasn’t just about finding the right man, it was about finding the right potential father for their child,’ she said.

‘They very much wanted to parent with their male partner who was committed to parenthood, who was going to perform that role of the hands-on father and would share the role of upbringing, the pleasures and pains of upbringing, equally.’

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