Social egg freezing as a new family planning tool?
ESC Congress Library. Novakova K. May 4, 2016; 127018; A-192
Karolina Novakova
Karolina Novakova
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Abstract
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Objectives:

In the Czech Republic, the average age of women bearing their first child has increased rapidly over the last two decades. This is an important reproductive health problem as fertility declines with increasing female age. While egg freezing was primarily an option for women who wanted to preserve their fertility due to medical reasons (young women undergoing chemo- or radiation therapy affecting their reproductive health); it is also offered to women for elective reasons that would make pregnancy or parenting difficult or undesirable at the present time. Hence, such practice shifts the attention from a medical procedure to a social phenomenon.

We aim to analyze a supply and demand of social freezing (SF) in the Czech Republic; as well as ethics and social desirability of egg freezing for non-medical reasons.

Design & methods:

Mixed research strategy. Analysis of ART centers’ offers and interviewing ART professionals.

Results:

In the Czech Republic, SF is by media and ART clinics themselves presented as a part of reproductive strategies of women. There are 41 registered ART clinics; out of which 15 offer SF programs – being referred to as 'preventive programs of preserving future fertility'. SF is also financially very burdensome. Price range is very wide, but average cost of one cycle including consultations, hormonal stimulation, oocyte extraction, conservation, vitrification and storing for 5 years accounts for ca. 1300 Eur (plus additional costs for medication). Nevertheless, ART clinics in many cases fail to inform in their online offers that usually more cycles are required in order to retrieve more eggs; and therefor the expenses will be much higher. The position of Czech ART expert society is that women should be given the information about SF, but certainly should not be encouraged to use these services.

Conclusions:

 

From the ethical point of view we find current situation questionable problematic; we lack any data about the success of the procedure; there is a risk of manipulation of women by their employers; we also doubt that SF will decrease the need of donor eggs. The current way of presentation of SF by its providers is in our opinion also rather problematic, as it leads away from the real problem – postponing childbearing to advanced age and decreasing of birth rate. Any positive support of early parenthood is absent in the Czech Republic.

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