Women are choosing to freeze their eggs not for career reasons but because they want to be sure their partner is father material, new research has found.
Lecturer Kylie Baldwin of De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has conducted the first survey of women who opted to have their eggs frozen to have children later. More than 800 women a year in Britain do this as a way of preserving fertility.
This has led some people to think women delayed motherhood to climb the career ladder – but this research has busted that myth.
Not one of the 31 women she surveyed had done this for career reasons. Instead, they cited that men were reluctant to settle down and they wanted to find someone who would be committed to raising a family.
Kylie has been working on her research for five years and presented her findings at the British Science Festival in Swansea this week.
She said: “Many of the women I interviewed wanted to become mothers soon or had felt the desire to have a child for several years prior to freezing their eggs. However what had prevented them from becoming a mother was the lack of the right partner who they thought would be a good father.
“The importance place by women on finding the right male partner also committed to parenthood and performing the role of a ‘hands on father’ was crucial for the women in my research and it was the lack of THIS type of a partner which led many of the women to pursue egg freezing.
"However time and time again the women I spoke to would tell me how they found it difficult to find such a partner and how the men they met and formed relationships with were often unwilling to settle down and countless women told me about how their relationships had broken down because their partner, fiancée or husband would not commit to having children.
"Thus these women in many cases had not yet become mothers and had thus turned to egg freezing not because they were engaging in other pursuits such as academic study or world travel but because they had not yet found a partner who they thought was the right one to father their child.”
Kylie, who is part of DMU’s acclaimed Reproduction Research Group, interviewed women from the UK, US and Norway aged 32-44. Some 40 per cent had a postgraduate degree.
The numbers of women who are freezing their eggs is increasing. In 2001, 29 women underwent the procedure – a figure which rose to 816 in 2014. However, the average age of women to freeze eggs is 38 which is still later than health professionals recommend.
Posted on Thursday 8th September 2016