Does egg freezing give false hope to prospective parents? | The Economist

On July 25th 1978 in Oldham, England… …a baby girl named Louise was born Unlike any baby before her… …Louise was conceived in a Petri dish… …by a remarkable new procedure known as in vitro fertilisation… …or IVF Since then millions of so-called “test-tube babies” have been born Today 1 in 60 American births is thanks to IVF… …and other fertility treatments… …which have spawned a booming new industry in many different countries But are fertility businesses making promises they can’t keep? Sacha Nauta can help answer that She’s the public policy editor at The EconomistSo there’s a lot going on in the fertility industryFirstly you’re seeing a lot of growth in people seeking out IVF treatmentIVF provides a valuable option for people… …who, for whatever reason, are unable to conceive But there’s another emerging marketThere’s quite a lot of exciting stuff going on……around so-called fertility “preservation”That’s freezing of egg or sperm cells for IVF in the future… …often years later Egg freezing is a relatively new procedure… …and was officially considered experimental in America until 2012It’s actually aimed at sort of millennials……people in their 20s who aren’t thinking about having babies at all……but who might want to preserve the idea of having kidsIt opens up the idea that as a person at sort of peak fertility……in say your mid-20s……you can take your cells, put them on ice……and in theory take them out whenever suits you……when you’re ready to have a babyThis is what egg-freezing businesses appear to promise… …a chance to put parenthood on ice… …which appeals to young people who are increasingly interested… …in having children later, for a variety of reasonsWhat clinics sell you tends to be time or women’s empowerment……or taking control of your destinyAll of these things, that you know……chime with what younger women right now would like to haveAnd women are increasingly buying in The number of egg-freezing procedures has grown rapidly… …over the past decade The process isn’t cheap Egg freezing can cost $15,000-$20,000 per cycle… …which is a single batch of eggs It often requires multiple cycles to increase chances of success Egg freezing and similar services… …are part of the burgeoning women’s-health industry dubbed “femtech”… …and are attracting plenty of interest from investorsSo we’ve seen a lot of particularly private-equity money go into the sector……as well as venture capital into the more early stage stuffInvestment in fertility firms grew from… …less than $200m in 2009 to $624m in 2018 Investors are attracted to the growth prospects… …high-profit margins… …and recession-proof demand Investors, businesses, and prospective parents all stand to benefit But the reliability of these services might be oversoldIVF has a success rate of about 25-30% per cycleBut that doesn’t tell you much. It depends on who you are……it very much depends on how old you areOn freezing I’m a bit more cautiousThere it’s really early daysBirth rates from frozen eggs should be taken with a grain of salt Most women who have had their eggs frozen have not yet retrieved them So the sample sizes are small It’s just too soon to draw reliable conclusions Still, clinics might misrepresent the data… …to encourage freezingAn egg-freezing clinic might tell you “our success rate is X”……and you might think “oh that sounds good”What they may not tell you is that……that is based on donor eggs of 25-year-oldsWhereas actually you’re a 38-year-old which is the average age……of most people who go to egg clinics……and therefore your chances are much lowerSo you are not that number that they’re showing youI think the most important caveat is that……there is no such thing as a guarantee to have a babyAnd one of my concerns in the industry right now……is that the caution isn’t being sold enoughIt may well help you one day……but there’s also a very good chance that it won’tThere is also a lack of sufficient regulation of fertility services… …especially in AmericaFreezing clinics in particular—you know a young new industryI think there’s a lot of problems thereThere have been a few quite well-published scandals……around loss of these cells, loss of embryos– I think about who they could have been……and what they would have been like……and yeah, those were our future childrenAnd what we’re seeing right now is when these kind of……dramatic things do happen……it’s clear that it’s a totally underregulated sector……where there are no clear standards for how you look after these cellsSo what’s needed from the fertility sector?It’s honesty—it is just more honesty about……the limits of the science, honesty about the costs…and yes more investment in R & D……which is I think a great thing there is still so much more to explore……and so much room for improvement around these treatments……and clearly a growing market

21 Replies to “Does egg freezing give false hope to prospective parents? | The Economist”

  1. Women family plan in reverse in the West…..20s are for child rearing, the 40s and beyond are for career focus
    …once the youngest child is in high school or beyond, is the time for career focus/"self fulfillment"

  2. It's one thing to freeze sperm and eggs for future use out of a medical necessity, but selling the process to millenials without any justification is only all about the money.

  3. Artificial eggs

    You can just use DNA
    Honestly you can design out sex entirely lol
    Dur,da dur!
    Myoptic ones!

  4. There's no point in freezing eggs. The premise is to wait to have a child, but by that time you'll be too old to be a decent parent anyway.

  5. dumb cunts whant to be whores in their 20s and then maybe in their 40s have some kid whom they will neglect and he will become a serial killer or an incel

  6. How is that a recession proof investment with high margind? I would consider it to be luxury consumption, stopping if income falls (since in the end one can get babys for free, thus one spends the left money rather on other things that became relaticely more expensive). Additionally, 25 year olds as main customers are not the demographic with most purchasing power, so I guess margins are constraint, especially when expecting future regulations. So what is the rationale behind the assertion I questioned?

  7. Is it me, or egg freezing seems like a way for abortions rather than giving births?

    IVF rates I'm pretty sure they are higher than 30% for most aged women since it's widely used worldwide. The following link article for more facts & stats:

  8. We have been warned about A.I. and how it was going to take over.
    But what will women do to us men when they find out that they don't need us to reproduce anymore.

  9. Good day!
    Check facebook group Nationsorg for international digital activities:

    Thank you and have a nice day!

  10. My wife and I had our IVF twins in our late 40s in 2008!!!
    Our last try for a girl we had 5 older sons…..We were still felt blessed………………..Life is family,Family is Life! 🙂

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