Should Freezing Of Ovarian Tissue Be Routine?October 28, 2010 No Comments
A fertility doctor has recommended that women in their 20s and even late teens should freeze ovarian tissue so they can have healthier babies when they are older.
Dr Sherman Silber recommends not freezing individual eggs, as is currently done, but freezing ovarian tissues by taking a sliver out. This would allow up to 60,000 eggs to be taken in one go and a much bigger chance of successful conception when older.
He said this would be a good way to address the “fertility epidemic” in the developed world. Birth rates are dropping because women are having families at later ages than ever before.
This would allow women who haven’t found a husband or who have been busy pursuing their careers to start a family in their mid-40s without problems of conception. Sure, the pregnancy and looking after the child would be harder than if they were 25, but if they are well-informed beforehand surely that would be their choice.
This would also allow women who are likely to undergo an early menopause, which will soon be available to know through testing and is genetic, to still have children at a reasonable age. For example, there are a fair number of women who undergo menopause in their early 40s, and conception in the decade leading up to menopause can be quite difficult. That means these particular women would have significant trouble even in their 30s which, although generally less easy than in their 20s, shouldn’t normally be a huge struggle.
So certainly, this would be a great option for many women.
But I wonder what the legal issues around this would be. Who owns the ovarian tissue: the woman or the clinic? Would this mean women in their 60s would regularly start having children? Could women who would otherwise be unable to have children be able to sue for their eggs? Somehow I think, regardless of whether or not their egg is 25, women at 60 really should not be having children.
As a spokesman for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said, “This is a relatively new procedure and is still being developed.” I’m sure there will be a lot of medical, ethical, and legal issues to sort out, but, with the growing trend of older mothers and developing reproductive technologies, I’m sure it will start to happen one way or another.