(Relaxnews)—"Egg banking," the practice of freezing eggs to circumvent age-related fertility, is becoming a popular trend in many countries, according to the researchers. The study, presented Tuesday at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Belgium, involved women who underwent the procedure for "social reasons," such as wanting to delay motherhood until they find the right partner. The study involved 140 women in Belgium averaging 37 years old who had considered egg banking between 2009 and 2011. Some 60 percent of the women surveyed wound up actually having their eggs harvested and frozen, while the remaining women opted out of the procedure or tried it with no success.
More than a third of the women who banked their eggs said they did not expect they would need to use them to have a child, findings showed. But still, more than 95 percent of them said they would freeze their eggs again, with 70 percent saying they would do it at a younger age. "Our results indicate that most women who have had oocyte cryopreservation have no regrets about it, but do wish they had done so at a younger age," said head researcher Dr Dominic Stoop "This makes sense, because the younger the eggs, the better the chance of pregnancy." However Bonnie Steinbock, a professor of philosophy and bioethics at the University at Albany-SUNY in the US, told LiveScience that she found the findings troubling. Egg banking can be risky and is often very expensive, and frozen eggs are not always successful in terms of producing a pregnancy, she said. jw/kc