Lockdown has spurred more women to freeze their eggs, but success rates are vanishingly low

Credit: Jean-Paul Chassenet/Science Source
Credit: Jean-Paul Chassenet/Science Source
[Egg freezing] is currently the fastest growing fertility treatment, but experts worry that the majority go into the process not knowing the full facts. “We talk about egg-freezing like it’s the equivalent of going to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned,” says Jody Day, founder of Gateway Women, a site which supports childless women, many of whom have been “left out in the cold” by “money-driven clinics” when egg-freezing doesn’t work.

Many critics claim the £19 billion fertility industry is being fuelled by unscrupulous clinics trying to cash in on women’s fears. Today, campaigns encouraging women to “bank” their fertility are commonplace on Tube posters and Instagram adverts, often exacerbated by supermarket-style offers such as “one round for £4,000 or three for £10,000.”

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This “insurance policy” rhetoric is misleading, say experts. “If you buy insurance, you’re guaranteed a benefit if you need it,” explains Dr Julie Lamb, a director at Pacific NW Fertility in Seattle. “Egg-freezing isn’t an insurance policy, because it doesn’t pay out all the time.” There’s a “devastating grief [if it doesn’t work] and an image painted of an unwanted, failed woman,” says Day.

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She wants to make sure women — and men — are given the actual facts: that it’s expensive, that age matters, and that it’s not easy and might not work.

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