Are Women Freezing Their Eggs for Lack of Educated Men?

Are more women freezing their eggs because there aren’t enough educated men to partner up with? Are more women freezing their eggs because there aren’t enough educated men to partner up with? Take this study with a huge grain of salt.

That’s the claim of a researcher who was curious about why more women in their 30s and early 40s are cryogenically preserving their eggs. You may have already read about this, as it’s been popping up in the news.

Professor Marcia Inhorn presented her recent findings last week at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Geneva.

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She says there has been a perception that women have been putting off having children so that they can focus on their careers, but that the results of her study show otherwise. Inhorn reports that women are not necessarily postponing their fertility but, instead, “desperately” (honestly, this subjective word appeared in this scientific study) preserving it.

Why preserve it? Inhorn writes that it’s because “in most cases, they were unable to find educated men who were willing to commit to family life.”

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The above is part of the research poster as posted on the author’s website.

Ok, that part makes sense to me. I totally get not being down with having babies with someone you don’t see as a viable long-term thing. But, there’s something weird about the way this study is presented. It’s very oddly worded for a scientific paper. Scientists don’t usually editorialize with words like ‘desperately’ when describing study results, or dramatically enlarge and bold the font when asking questions.

Beyond the slanted presentation, event the results of this study are of dubious quality.

First, the study: Scientifically speaking, it’s not very rigorous and the results aren’t exactly cause-and-effect. In other words, it can’t be said that women who have their eggs frozen do so for ‘x’ reason. The sample comprised 150 women (114 in the US and 36 in Israel) who underwent elective egg freezing at 8 different clinics (4 in each country), and the results are based on interviews, not objective numbers.

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Second, even though this story has been covered by a few news organizations, the study hasn’t been peer-reviewed or published by a legitimate journal. Even the research poster (ie: it wasn’t a session) as presented at a recent conference can only be found on the author’s own website.

In truth, based on what the author has put up on her website, the only thing that can be concluded, and loosely at that, is that women who are freezing their eggs tend to be educated and have not found someone with whom they want to have children. What I take from this is:

  1. Women who are educated have higher-paying jobs and can afford the expensive procedure.
  2. Women are freezing their eggs because they haven’t met someone to have a baby with.

As for the rest of it, there’s a distinct whiff of bias, and everything reads as a point trying to be made instead of actual scientific discovery. Inhorn is trying, she admits, to show women aren’t delaying getting pregnant so they can focus on their careers, but that it’s because there aren’t enough good men to pick from. (Incidentally, not all of the 150 women that were selected non-randomly are even heterosexual so presumably they’re not all looking for men.)

I have no idea what the agenda is here, but this ‘study’ seems to be little more than sketchy ‘proof’ to back up a pre-determined point the author wants to make.


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