Written by: Nina Mehta '22
Edited by: Neha Mukherjee '23
Never in a million years would I have thought about freezing my eggs. The horror stories that I have heard about fertility clinics losing eggs and freezers breaking down has pushed me away from ever considering this path to raising a family. Despite the high cost, many women have decided to pursue this route, in order to guarantee they will be able to have children in the future. Women also do not see children in their near future, and have decided to place their eggs in fertility clinics, extracting them only when considered ready to be a mother. As women are becoming more educated and independent, they are moving up the chain in terms of occupational status. For the past few years, technology companies have agreed to fully pay for the freezing of women’s eggs, in order to push them to continue working in the field. This has both positive and negative impacts, as women can continue to fulfil their educational and occupational aspirations, without placing their lives on hold to have children. However, I, along with others, are skeptical about the safety of these eggs and the unnatural nature of doing so.
The dilemma between being a stay-at-home mom and working a full-time job is one that has ongoing tension. I sometimes worry that when it comes time for me to have children, I will not be able to balance a full-time job, while being a full-time mother. Thus, this incentive of freezing eggs has become more appealing recently. In 2014, Bloomberg BusinessWeek published a cover story with the headline, “Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career”, as large companies such as Apple, eBay, Facebook, and Google are pushing employees to undergo this procedure. In Silicon Valley, especially, this has been a growing trend in high-tech companies. In 2014, Facebook expanded its aid for family planning and offered full pay for surrogacy and egg freezing. Many of these companies have headquarters in San Francisco and provide easy-accessible fertility clinics within a close proximity to their workforce. Spring Fertility, for instance, is a high-tech fertility clinic that provides service for women working in these high-tech companies. The convenience, financial incentives, and desire to follow the current trends have pushed an increasing number of women to undergo this procedure.
The cost of the harvesting and freezing process has dropped from 19,000 for a single cycle to around 4,000 to 7,000. The procedure includes the use of birth control pills, hormone injection, and then subsequent retrieval and freezing. While this may seem like a method to ensure future childbirth, the procedure can have emotional and physical side-effects, such as bloating, mood-swings, and depression. In addition to side effects, there have been relatively slow success rates that the frozen eggs can lead to childbirth.
The ethics of undergoing this procedure must also be considered. Is it ethical to push women to skip the traditional method of childbirth to work for a few more years? While I do respect women for valuing their career, I do not believe large, male-dominant corporations have the right to push for this procedure.
 Murphy H. Lots of Successful Women Are Freezing Their Eggs. But It May Not Be About Their Careers. The New York Times [Internet]. 2018Jul3; Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/03/health/freezing-eggs-women.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article