The cost of delaying motherhood


Freezing eggs or ovarian tissue for the sole reason of voluntarily delaying motherhood past natural fertility may end up being too costly for society as a whole – or so says a new study from University of Illinois at Chicago.

The practice was devised with the idea of preserving fertility for women undergoing medical treatments like chemotherapy which threatened fertility. Nevertheless women looking to delay motherhood have discovered the practice and fertility centers are going along with it. There are any number of fertility centers around the US who are helping women create a back-up plan should their fertility wane but their desire for parenthood continue.

The researchers used decision-analysis techniques comparing the cost per live birth for three alternative strategies a 25 year old woman might employ to delay childbearing.

“We found, in order to create one additional live birth with the mechanisms of freezing either ovarian tissue or freezing eggs, it would cost society an additional $130,000,” revealed Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, director of the fertility preservation program at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. “In any scenario where a woman ha undergone a procedure to freeze eggs or part of her ovaries for future use, and then she changes her mind, that is tissue that is never used. . . The cost estimates in our study are actually very conservative.”

She suggests that one fix would be to develop an atmosphere where young women, in the prime career-building years, could feel safe having a baby and able to support it.

“Whether or not this is cost-effective is something that needs to be talked about and potentially decided as a society,” said Hirshfeld-Cytron.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Fertility & Sterility


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