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Women Increasingly Freezing Their Eggs To Pursue Their Careers 342

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-your-ducks-in-a-row dept.
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Really interesting piece by Emma Rosenblum about women freezing their eggs in order to take 'biological clock' pressure off while they pursue careers: 'Not since the birth control pill has a medical technology had such potential to change family and career planning. The average age of women who freeze their eggs is about 37, down from 39 only two years ago... And fertility doctors report that more women in their early 30s are coming in for the procedure. Not only do younger women have healthier eggs, they also have more time before they have to use them.'"
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Women Increasingly Freezing Their Eggs To Pursue Their Careers

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  • by Anna Merikin (529843) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:26PM (#46806545) Journal

    ...for procrastinators.

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Informative)

    by Johann Lau (1040920) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:28PM (#46806563) Homepage Journal
    • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Interesting)

      by i kan reed (749298) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:41PM (#46806691) Homepage Journal

      And people still assert this is in spite of decades of the Flynn Effect. There's an important genetic component to intelligence, but everything we've see recently suggests fetal development, nutrition, and education make such tremendously larger difference that the "idiocricy effect" could at most be considered a momentary blip.

      Human beings are smart. Given good conditions, they tend to be really smart. And we're all incredibly genetically similar.

      • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:00PM (#46806857)

        everything we've see recently suggests fetal development, nutrition, and education make such tremendously larger difference that the "idiocricy effect"

        Except for twin studies which indicate a heritability for IQ between .7 and .8:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heritability_of_IQ

        So, you know, there's that.

        Of course environment has an impact. It's similar to height in that regard - malnourish a child and they won't grow into their genetic destiny. But to therefore suggest that height isn't strongly heritable is just absurd.

      • Re:Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ArhcAngel (247594) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:08PM (#46806927)
        If both your parents are morons then the likelihood of you receiving good fetal development, nutrition, and education are slim to none. There are exceptions but the reason they are called exceptions is they are RARE! That said growing up extended family would frequently commented on how much I was like my grandfather (he died when I was an infant) because I had his smarts (He taught himself chemical engineering and was part of the development of polymers). My take on our society is today's typical highly intelligent couple are too self absorbed to embark on a life of selfless giving by having children. Of those that do have children a large percentage offload the actual parenting to paid support so they can continue to be self absorbed while patting themselves on the back for having pro-created. Having said all that I believe a child raised by morons that love the child has a far superior life to a child raised by intellectuals or affluent parents who see the child as a trophy or burden.
      • by brit74 (831798)

        And people still assert this is in spite of decades of the Flynn Effect.

        Here's the thing: the Flynn effect seems to be a real thing, but the Flynn effect seems to have stopped in the past decade or two in developed countries. "Recent research suggests that the Flynn effect may have ended in at least a few developed nations, possibly allowing national differences in IQ scores[4] to diminish if the Flynn effect continues in nations with lower average national IQs." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

        There'

      • That's just a bunch of strawmen and a made up assertion: "people complaining about the decline of society are contributing more to it than anyone else" - oh yeah? Nietzsche, Erich Fromm and *thousands* others will still be read, and still have something worthwhile to say, when the last mirror of xkcd has blinked out of existence. Pah.

        And you know, when I thought of "career" and "frozen eggs" I had to think of that particular bit in the opening of Idiocracy. If you think I was trying to claim freezing eggs w

  • It's not a doll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Babies are people, not toys that you lay away for.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Babies are continuation of your genetic line, which is your concern and your concern alone first and foremost.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Nope. Continuation of the species is you first and foremost concern, even if you don't realize it.

        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          It is not. In nature, interspecies competition can be so harsh, it can wipe out the entire species in process of selection. Species can also diverge into two distinctly different species.

          Priority is always placed on your own genetic line and line of those close to you genetically over that of entire species for aforementioned reasons among other things.

    • by Ravaldy (2621787)

      I'd rather see people put eggs in storage than risk having problem babies. Studies in the last decade have shown that people that have babies after 35 are at much higher risk of having autistic kids. The only 4 autistic kids I know are from parents that opted to have kids after 35 (coincides with the studies).

      Before my argument can even start making sense the following question needs to be answered: Does freezing your eggs and sperm reduced your chances of having an autistic kid if grown in an aging body?

    • People have been getting smarter and more educated for as long as we've been keeping records.

      100 years ago, people would line up around the block to pay a nickel to see deformed animal fetuses in jars.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        And now the watch ads for the privilege of seeing Honey Boo Boo.
        You're right, people in general have been getting smarter and more knowledgeable, I just found your example funny.

  • ...wondered, "Why is Slashdot posting cooking and preparation of eggs as 'women's work'? And why would that affect woman's career? Kinda sexist if you ask me..."

  • by Chelloveck (14643) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:46PM (#46806735) Homepage
    For purely financial reasons both men and women probably want their kids to be out of college and self-supporting before they retire. That kind of means you really want to have them by the time you hit your early 40s.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      It would help too if more men shared in child rearing. Instead society still seems to think it's just the mother who has to give up the career.
      And along that line, maybe there should be a way to freeze sperm too because as men get older there is evidence that sperm quality declines.
      And along that other line, why are so many opposed to adoption?
      But I digress.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:49PM (#46806749) Homepage
    Oocyte cryopreservation has been available since 1986 with success rates of nearly 90%. Its commonly used for women with cancer or history of early menopause.

    my biggest issue is that the article is predicated on the condescending notion that without this technology, women are forced to forego their careers and simply bare children instead. There are plenty of women who do not want children. Its also worth noting that the spike has very little to do with the success rate of cryopreservative technologies but instead:

    with increased media attention and an unlikely celebrity spokeswoman. In a 2012 episode of Keeping up With the Kardashians, Kim, post-divorce, consulted with a fertility doctor about freezing her eggs.

    given this recent advocation and the fact that fertility is a 4 billion dollar industry in the united states, its difficult to say women are intentionally choosing this rather expensive procedure not covered by insurance by their own volition and without the assistance of businessweek articles. like gout, antidepressants, and erectile dysfunction medications, expect cryopreservation to start making its commercial debut on television in the near future.

    • There are plenty of women who do not want children.

      If you could be so kind, sir, as to point me in the right direction, I would be eternally grateful.

    • by swb (14022)

      Maybe if ED drugs worked better we wouldn't have ads about cryopreservation..

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      I never really understood what was so taboo about adoption. Why the intense focus on fertility where there are unwanted children? Some couples spend more on fertility than an adoption would cost.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Monday April 21, 2014 @12:49PM (#46806751) Journal
    My husband and I decided (long before we got married) we didn't want kids. We have three nieces and a nephew between us. That's plenty of kidlet time when we need it, and it gives their parents a break. (Turns out I'd have difficulty getting pregnant anyway so I'm glad we already decided on our route before I got my hopes up only to have them dashed.)

    People may consider it selfish of us, but I'm not sure I want to bring any more human beings into this already over crowded world.
    • I respect your decision not to have kids, but I don't know if overcrowding is the counterargument. Overpopulation is more a problem in 3rd world countries where people still have big families as a traditional counter to high mortality rates.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by trparky (846769)
        It is projected that within the next fifteen to twenty years, if global population growth rates don't slow down we will simply not be able to grow enough food to feed the world's population. Global famine will be a result. Already we're seeing the effects of over-fishing, fish populations are at the lowest seen in years. The giant water aquifer under the Great Plains of the United States (sometimes referred to as the Breadbasket of the World) is losing water, we're taking out water faster than nature can
        • by Ravaldy (2621787)

          Bahhh, we can feed on the weak. When vegetation was scarce we went on to hunt animals. We just have to shifts to cannibalism.

          On a serious note, I think 15-20 years is a little early to expect famine in 2nd and 1st world countries. There are plenty of changes we can make to increase the food output. Currently there are many types of food that are manufactured that don't make good use of space. Add eating normal portions to this and we could probably cut our food intake by 40%.

          • We also have plenty of options for increasing yields and nutrition from existing crops, although a lot of the anti-GMO panic is putting a damper on that research. (Even when such research doesn't actually involve direct gene tinkering...)

            Famine is already a problem in many places around the world, unfortunately.
        • by Megane (129182)

          The problem with "global population growth rates" is only in the developing world. As a society develops, birth rate naturally goes down. Right now Japan is facing a top-heavy population due to declining birth rate, and Europe is also below the replacement rate. I think the US is about flat, but because of immigration. The reason is that as infant mortality goes down (less need for "spare" kids), and as lifestyle options increase, children turn from an asset into a liability. Child labor laws also help redu

      • I view humans as humans, regardless of country or ethnicity. Too many first world countries also put an enormous strain on the environment, with our love of conflict minerals and cheap imported goods.
        • by Luckyo (1726890)

          This is actually a very solid argument. While those who suffer the most from overpopulation are in poor third world countries, those who cause this are predominantly in first world, as every single person in first world consumes a very large amount of resources in comparison, and requires a pretty heavy pillaging of third world ecology to maintain their level of life.

          I can't say I totally agree with your reasoning, but I can understand the logic. And well, if you do both have nieces and nephews, you could a

    • by lorinc (2470890) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:30PM (#46807127) Homepage Journal

      My wife and I are in the same situation, and I never understood the selfishness argument. Why is it selfish? To whom? What harm does it bring and to what?

      The more I have this discussion with family and friends, the more it turns out to be pure jealousy towards us better enjoying our life. Most of them didn't expect it is that hard to raise children, and especially the many things you have to give up due to the lack of time to do it.

      • by asylumx (881307) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:47PM (#46807321)
        My wife and I are also on this band wagon, and not only do I not think it is selfish, but frankly I think some of the people I know with 5 or 6 kids are actually the selfish ones because they seem to think the rest of the world should praise them for their efforts raising a big family. Yes, raising a child is work, but if you didn't want the job you didn't have to have the child. Don't complain about the crappy hours and poor pay -- instead go get a better paying job with decent hours and then pay for daycare.

        Ug.
      • by jma05 (897351) on Monday April 21, 2014 @02:09PM (#46807577)

        Personally, I thought that the opposite is true...that people who have kids are selfish (and I may yet be one among those selfish people - not decided yet)... since they are adding kids to a planet that can do with a lot fewer of them.

        The "replenishment" argument has not made sense in centuries. Not having a baby is the most green thing one can do. Babies have bigger carbon footprints than *anything* else you can have and most probably (unless some revolution of green technologies hits soon) more than everything else you do.

        Parents having children later in life also exerts some downward pressure on population growth, even if we retain fertility rates. So more power to those who choose this technology.

    • It is jealousy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday April 21, 2014 @02:06PM (#46807549)

      Most people who say "Oh it is selfish not to have kids," are jealous. Kids are a big commitment, you have to trade off a lot to have them, at least if you are going to be a good parent. Now there are benefits, of course, it can be extremely rewarding emotionally. But there are tradeoffs and some people don't like them. So they see childless couples and see all the extra money and time they have and get jealous, and thus hateful.

      It is, in fact, not a selfish position. It is a very pragmatic one. If we are to have a sustainable future, we need population growth to level off. Now I suppose we could go about it all draconian like China and force people to have a certain amount of children. However a better solution is for people who don't wish to have children to not do so. That allows those that want to have more children to do so and yet maintain a consistent population level.

  • I found the old fashioned way of making babies far more enjoyable.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      You go around beating women on the head with a club and dragging them into your cave?

  • Are the eggs viability all that different from "young egg" to "old egg"?
    Isn't a huge factor simply the age of the mother?

    Is planting a 'frozen young egg' in a relatively elderly 50 year old uterus really going to be that much more successful?

  • by shadowrat (1069614) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:02PM (#46806881)
    I'm in my 40s now (and male for perspective), but when i was in high school, i had it drilled into my head that having a baby in your late teens / early 20s was one of the worst mistakes you could possibly make.

    Well, here i am 20 years later and now i feel like it would be an even bigger mistake to have a kid. I've got to keep active in my middle age. my regular exercise schedule is staving off the onset of old age. I'm pretty sure that as soon as i get a kid, BAM! i'm 10 years older and thats a virtual age of 50s. Plus, kids are super expensive. Sure, i've got a good health plan, but babies would still be a huge expense and i've got retirement to save for. When i was 20, i was so much less financially responsible, i never would have noticed a kid sucking my money away.

    Looking back, i think it would have been far better to have had a kid at 20. Really, my college education was a waste. At that age i lacked any sort of focus or purpose. i think i probably needed a kid to give me something to work for. I've met enough people my age who had their kids early on and went on to have successful careers and awesome families that i'm starting to think our society has it's priorities backwards when it comes to the right time to start a family. It's far better to do that stuff when you are 18 and 20 and think you can overcome anything.
    • by alen (225700) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:09PM (#46806943)

      yep, i'm also 40 and have 2 kids

      best to have kids in your mid 20's right after college and buy a home around the same time. by the time you hit 40 your kids are ready to be kicked out of the house and as you start to make more money you will have time for real entertainment like nice vacations instead of the 20s deal of going to bars all the time

      and when you get to your 40's you start to feel like chilling out a lot more instead of always having to have small kids tug you everywhere and take your attention

      i see a lot of parents in their mid to late 40's now with newborns and i'd hate to be that age and having to wake up at 6am on weekends to watch the kid

      • yeah. thanks for fueling my regrets :/
        • by alen (225700)

          mostly my first kid since he would wake up at 4:30am almost every day as a baby and toddler. i was on like 4 hours sleep for a year
          the second kid wasn't too bad

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      You are correct. having a kid at any age is a huge mistake if you want to do things with your life that is outside the raising a child idea. To some people raising children IS Their career, and more power to them. to Others, it's retarded to blow that time and money that children require to just have them because of societal or parental pressures.

      Then you have the nutjobs that think they HAVE to have kids so they have a LEGACY... If you really want to raise children for the right reasons, go do it, but

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        If you don't have legacy, then you may as well have never existed. As someone who is trying to be logical about having children or not, my view is depressing.
    • Really, my college education was a waste.

      Good luck affording a house for you and your children to live in without one. 30 years of dual incomes and financialisation have placed a home firmly outside the reach of most single income households, and at this stage quite a few double income households.

      Make no mistake, no mistake whatsoever. These women are not pursuing abstract "careers". They are perusing the income and job-security needed to buy and live securely in a family home. And like the rest of us, they

  • by tomhath (637240) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:18PM (#46807007)

    LaJoie fits the typical profile of an egg freezer: They’re great at their jobs, they make a ton of money, and they’ve followed all of Sheryl Sandberg’s advice. But the husband and baby haven’t materialized

    Apparently it isn't so much about not wanting to have babies earlier, it's more about "all the good men are married or gay". Once a person (man or woman) is out of school it becomes increasingly difficult to find a spouse; moving into higher income brackets makes it much more difficult - mostly you need to wait for the mid-life crisis to free some up through divorce.

  • Talk about an off-site backup!

  • by enjar (249223) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:42PM (#46807251) Homepage

    I am turning forty this year, and already have two school aged kids. They can feed themselves, wipe their own asses, go to bed on their own and bathe themselves. They also can clearly communicate (sometimes too clearly!) their needs, wishes, desires, aches, pains, etc. Even still, they are damned tiring to have around and suck up a lot of time, too. I can only imagine the sheer living hell that would be having an infant at this point in my life. I'd either need the mom to be some twenty something trophy wife with a pile of twenty something energy, or someone who made a pile of money so we could hire a nanny, because I can't imagine a forty something woman who works a full day and is a high achiever coming home and being Super Mom. I know I barely scrape by some days on the parenting scale after a big day at work.

    I do keep in shape (which helps keep the energy up) and I do love my kids, but I see people with infants and it makes my vasectomy turn into a happy memory. You have to pick priorities in life, and I know by making the choice to have kids, I've likely shut more than a couple doors career-wise since things like business travel, relocation and ability to take "risky" (e.g. startup) opportunities are kind of off the table now, or there is a whole bunch more at stake than before.

  • Putting off having kids is not as easy as you think.

    My sister did have a kid in her late 40s, but the viability of female eggs is actually not that high.

    You're far better off having kids and doing what First World Nations do, which is have women with kids not suffer in their careers.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:58PM (#46807455)

    As a parent who got a late start due to some biological issues, all I can say is "Good luck." Even with frozen eggs, it's very hard getting and staying pregnant. My wife and I are only in our late 30s, and it took a huge amount of medical intervention to get our two kiddies here.

    Plus, the other thing to consider is that having kids is definitely a young man's game. I'm doing all right, but having a 3 year old and 1 year old is extremely tiring, as I'm sure it is to a 25 year old, but that just goes up as you get older and have more responsibility at work, etc. Free time doesn't exist anymore, and I'm not going to get that back for a very long time if I keep doing this right.

    I guess I kind of understand why people wait. If my wife and I had kids when we were 24/25, we would probably be broke now and in perpetual debt. Having kids later allows you to save a little bit, build up a cushion and actually be able to provide them a decent life without taking out 4 mortgages and 20 credit cards. The problem is that waiting too long to find a mate (i.e. being unattached into your late 30s) puts you in a disadvantaged pool of single people. Lots of single women I talk to who haven't found anyone yet say the quality really drops off -- and they cite immaturity of the man as the reason. Past the mid 30s, you either get the permanent single guys hopping from one club to another on the weekend or the unmarryable.

  • Lets look at logic. Everyone made the jump that this meant having kids in 50. Having kids at 35 with the eggs you could have had at 30 is also a viable option here. This is saying hey, I can freeze my eggs NOW because I want to have kids in case something happens where I can't later in life, and I may as well use the younger, healthier eggs. So, this could mean "I want to have kids at 35-40, but I should freeze my eggs before most diseases start showing up around 30" I'd also include this isn't a "Selfish
    • by Shados (741919)

      It absolutely make sense to do. If I was a woman who wanted kids, I'd do this in a heartbeat.

      The benefits however, are going to be short lived. Things that improve your economic situation only work when you're one of the few doing it. Like when women started having careers, a couple in that situation was way, way ahead of the curve financially. Now that its common though, that pretty little house in the perfect neighborhood is priced for couples where both have a career.

      So once/if this becomes a mainstream

  • by peter303 (12292) on Monday April 21, 2014 @04:03PM (#46808749)
    For should they want to reproduce in middle age. A few conditions like autism are blamed on aging fathers. And/or chemo or trauma ends sperm production.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday April 21, 2014 @10:16PM (#46811971)

    Adopt a child. That's what we did... there are an enormous number of children that desperately need a home or they will die... or worse, possibly end up in sex trade. It's a scary thing to do, and it's tough. But I love my son more than I could have ever possibly imagined. He doesn't look like me, isn't the same color as me, doesn't have the same hair as me... but he's my son. God damn, I'm glad I adopted. It's the most important thing I have done, or ever will do again.

IF I HAD A MINE SHAFT, I don't think I would just abandon it. There's got to be a better way. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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