Ethics issue aside, freezing human eggs may be dangerous

When news broke several weeks ago that tech giants Apple and Facebook were offering female employees elective egg freezing benefits, much of the commentary criticized the decision, interpreting it as a message to women that they should postpone motherhood in favor of advancing their careersor perhaps their company’s bottom line. Few articles, however, addressed the fact that experts do not view this as a procedure that should be encouraged.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not endorse egg freezing for the “sole purpose of circumventing reproductive aging in healthy women.” Two years ago, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), a membership organization representing roughly 500 fertility clinics in the U.S., lifted the “experimental” label from the procedure, but stressed that its decision was not an endorsement for healthy women to freeze their eggs for future use.

After reviewing 981 fairly small studies, of which only 112 addressed safety and efficacy concerns, ASRM’s practice committee wrote: “While a careful review of the literature indicates egg freezing is a valid technique for young women for whom it is medically indicated, we cannot at this time endorse its widespread elective use to delay childbearing.” Citing the critical lack of medical evidence and potential emotional risks the committee cautioned: “Marketing this technology for the purpose of deferring childbearing may give women false hope.”

Read full, original articleIs Freezing Your Eggs Dangerous? A Primer

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