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Freezing eggs for career

Posted January. 30, 2018 07:20,   

Updated January. 30, 2018 08:57


Bloomberg Businessweek magazine published a cover story titled “Freeze your eggs, Free your career” in April 2014. This interview article about an unmarried graduate school student named Brigitte Adams became a chance emphasizing that freezing eggs could be a new option for women who postponed their pregnancies for career.

After the interview of Ms. Adams, freezing eggs has become a popular trend for career women in the United States. Many women all over the world wrote letters to her to ask for advice. Experts eval‎uated that this could become a clue to solve a colliding problem between women’s social success and child care. At the end of 2014, American major companies such as Apple and Facebook decided to support female employees and pay for the cost for “egg freezing procedure” up to the maximum cost of 20,000 U.S. dollars. Bloomberg wrote at its column that “Imagine a world that is not controlled by biological clock, which could be a method to protect both dreams and baby.”

According to the latest issue of The Washington Post, Ms. Adams, who froze her eggs when she was in her late 30s, took out her 11 frozen eggs in 2017, at the age of 45, and attempted pregnancy. But all of them failed. Two of her eggs did not survive during the thawing and melting process, and three of them failed to be fertilized. Five of them were presumed to be abnormal. One of them was transplanted into her uterus, but it failed to get pregnant. She was furious, saying that many hospitals do not mention freezing sufficient eggs is necessary to get pregnant, which is unscrupulous. Adams finally succeeded in pregnancy with donated egg and sperm. She is expecting her baby in May 2018.

The number of career women in Korea who are freezing their eggs is increasing over the past few years. Several female celebrities confessed on TV that they froze their eggs, becoming hot issues. According to a parliamentary inspection data of the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2016, about 4,500 eggs are being kept frozen in 26 hospitals in Korea. But it costs millions of won for collecting eggs, quick-freezing them and storing them. Pregnancy and childbirth are the blessings of an individual and the society. How long do women have to bear the pain of artificially defying biological clocks for their careers?

Jin-Kyun Kil leon@donga.com