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Abstract

Background Since 2014, many companies have followed the lead of Apple and Facebook and now offer financial support to female employees to access egg freezing. Australian companies may soon make similar offers. Employer-sponsored egg freezing (ESEF) has raised concerns and there is academic debate about whether ESEF promotes reproductive autonomy or reinforces the ‘career vs. family’ dichotomy. Despite the growing availability of ESEF and significant academic debate, little is known about how ESEF is perceived by the public. The aim of this study was to explore women’s attitudes toward ESEF. Methods Women aged 18-60 years who resided in Victoria, Australia were invited to complete an online, cross-sectional survey investigating views toward egg freezing. Associations between participant demographics and their views about ESEF were assessed using multinominal logistic regression, adjusted for age and free text comments were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results The survey was completed by 656 women, median age 28 years (range: 18-60 years). Opinions on the appropriateness of employers offering ESEF were divided (Appropriate: 278, 42%; Inappropriate: 177, 27%; Unsure: 201, 31%). There was significantly less support for ESEF among older participants and those employed part-time (p < 0.05). While some participants saw the potential for ESEF to increase women’s reproductive and career options, others were concerned that ESEF could pressure women to delay childbearing and exacerbate existing inequities in access to ARTs. Conclusions Our analysis revealed that while some women identified risks with ESEF, for many women ESEF is not viewed as theoretically wrong, but rather it may be acceptable under certain conditions; such as with protections around reproductive freedoms and assurances that ESEF is offered alongside other benefits that promote career building and family. We suggest that there may be a role for the State in ensuring that these conditions are met.

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Like other assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, the cost of egg freezing (EF) is significant, presenting a potential barrier to access. Given recent technological advancements and rising demand for EF, it is timely to reassess how EF is funded. An online cross-sectional survey was conducted in Victoria, Australia and was completed by 656 female individuals. Participants were asked their views on funding for both medical and non-medical EF. The median age of participants was 28 years (interquartile range 23–37 years) and most participants were employed (44% full-time, 28% part-time, 33% students). There was very high support for public funding for medical EF (n = 574, 87%), with 302 (46%) participants indicating support for the complete funding of medical EF through the public system. Views about funding for non-medical EF were more divided; 43 (6%) participants supported full public funding, 235 (36%) supported partial public funding, 150 (23%) supported coverage through private health insurance, and 204 (31%) indicated that non-medical EF should be self-funded. If faced with the decision of what to do with surplus eggs, a high proportion of participants indicated that they would consider donation (71% to research, 59% to a known recipient, 52% to a donor programme), indicating that eggs surplus to requirements could be a potential source of donor eggs. This study provides insights that could inform policy review, and suggests revisiting whether the medical/non-medical distinction is a fair criterion to allocate funding to ART.
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Egg freezing (EF) technology has improved significantly over the last decade, giving women more choice over their reproductive futures. Despite this advance, EF brings forth contentious ethical and regulatory issues. Policies controlling access to EF vary around the world and there is a lack of consensus about who should have access and what criteria are relevant in making these decisions. This study aimed to identify views of women about access to EF for both “medical” and “non-medical” risks to infertility. An online survey was administered to women aged between 18 and 60 years in Victoria, Australia between April and May 2018. A total of 1,066 individuals initiated the survey. The median age of the participants was 28 years and 81% were <40 years old. Almost all participants (98%) supported access to medical EF in situations where treatments (e.g. chemotherapy) or illnesses threaten fertility. Support for access to EF for non-medical indications was lower; 75% supported EF for “lack of suitable partner”, followed by “financial insecurity to raise a child” (72%) and “career/educational advancement” (65%). Older respondents (aged ≥40 years) were less likely than their younger counterparts to support all indications for non-medical EF. Our findings indicate broad support for EF. However, the variation in support between indications for non-medical EF suggests that individuals do not think about access to EF simply in terms of medical necessity. To reflect public views, future policy may need to consider access to EF beyond the medical/non-medical distinction.
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Plain language summary Although a woman’s fertility declines markedly in her late‐30s and early‐40s, gradually more and more women start a family at this stage of their lives, with the average age of childbirth progressively increasing. More women are storing their eggs (oocytes) to give them the potential opportunity to have a baby in the future. Nonetheless, the number of egg freezing cycles accounts for less than 2% of IVF cycles, and the number of cycles using stored eggs is even lower. The technology for freezing eggs changed dramatically about a decade ago with the development of a technique of rapid freezing called vitrification, which gives success rates almost as good as using fresh eggs. The growing use of this technique, and the publicity surrounding how this technique may have been promoted, has led to this paper. It is essential that women are very clearly informed about the likely success rates of egg freezing, particularly as it is entirely provided by the private sector, with the associated concerns of financial costs and inappropriate or inaccurate marketing. Its success is strongly dependent on the age of the woman at the time of freezing her eggs, with much higher success rates in those aged 35 years and under. Current legislation only allows women to store eggs for 10 years, which conflicts with the better success rates when women do so at a younger age. The reasons behind the increase in egg freezing are complex, but the most common reason given by women storing eggs is that they do not have a partner and are concerned that by the time they do find themselves in a relationship within which they wish to start a family, they may not be able to. We conclude that elective egg freezing provides women with an opportunity to take action about the drop in their fertility, but at present most women who are doing this are already in their later 30s when the success rates are limited. We strongly support the need for improved and continuing education of both women and men regarding the decline in female fertility with age.
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Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the level of awareness and knowledge regarding elective oocyte cryopreservation (OC) among unmarried women of reproductive age in Korea. Methods: A survey was conducted among 86 women who visited a fertility preservation clinic for counseling about elective OC between December 2016 and May 2018. Participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding their awareness and knowledge of fertility and OC. Results: The questionnaire was completed by 71 women. Among them, 73% decided to undergo OC after counseling. The main reason for making this decision was that they wished to maintain their fertility in the future (70.6%). Conversely, the high cost for the procedure was the main reason given by those who chose to forego this procedure. Regarding fertility and OC, the participants' knowledge was poor. Most women expected greater financial support from the government or from their place of employment. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the awareness and knowledge about elective OC were relatively poor among the female Korean population. These findings may help clinicians in better counselling of their patients.
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Background Fertility rates in Europe are among the lowest in the world, which may be attributed to both biological and lifestyle factors. Cost and reimbursement of fertility treatments vary across Europe, although its citizens enjoy wide access to fertility care. Since few regional studies evaluating public support for fertility treatment exist, we conducted the Listening IVF and Fertility in Europe (LIFE) survey to ascertain public perception of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and gamete donation as a treatment for infertility among European men and women. Methods and findings This survey was distributed via an online questionnaire to 8,682 individuals who were voluntary participants in an online research panel residing in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, or the UK. The survey covered items to determine respondents’ beliefs regarding IVF and its success, the need for public funding, the use of IVF among modern families with different lifestyles, and the support for gamete donation. Results were analyzed by age, country of origin, sex, and sexual orientation. A total of 6,110 (70% of total) men and women responded. Among all respondents, 10% had undergone IVF treatment and 48% had considered or would consider IVF in case of infertility. Respondents estimated IVF mean success rate to be 47% and over half of respondents believed that availability of IVF would encourage people to delay conception. Although 93% of respondents believed that IVF treatment should be publicly funded to some extent, a majority believed that secondary infertility or use of fertility treatments allowing to delay parenthood should be financed privately. Survey respondents believed that the mean number of stimulated IVF cycles funded publicly should be limited 2 to 3 (average 2.4). 79% of respondents were willing to pay for IVF if needed with a mean amount of 5,400 € for a child brought to life through IVF. According to respondents, mean minimum and maximum ages for IVF should be 29 and 42 years old, respectively. The current survey showed support for egg and sperm donation (78%), for IVF in single women (61%) and for same-sex female couples (64%). When analyzing the results per group (i.e., sex, age, sexual orientation, and countries), youngest age groups, homosexuals, bisexuals, German respondents, and men had similar overall positive attitudes and beliefs toward IVF and opinions on public funding. Perceived limits to availability were stronger in women. Conclusion Overall, the survey results demonstrate a positive attitude among respondents in an online panel toward IVF, gamete donation, and support for public funding for fertility treatment. These findings could potentially drive discussions between patients and prescribers to explore IVF treatment and among legislators and payers to support public funding for these procedures.
Article
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Planned oocyte cryopreservation ("planned OC") is an emerging but ethically permissible procedure that may help women avoid future infertility. Because planned OC is new and evolving, it is essential that women who are considering using it be informed about the uncertainties regarding its efficacy and long-term effects.
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In ‘Egg Freezing and Egg Banking: Empowerment and Alienation in Assisted Reproduction’, John A Robertson responds to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine's statement that oocyte preservation should no longer be considered an experimental treatment. He explores the implications of this development, focusing on the potentially empowering impact of oocyte preservation as a means for women to preserve their fertility. He also engages with concerns about the possibility that such a development may raise issues of alienation. He highlights some of the potential problems that may emerge as women gain the capacity to store and either donate or sell any eggs they do not need for their own reproductive purposes. Much of his paper is valuable and considered, but in places, his views rest on assumptions about women's attitudes to their fertility, understanding of the technology, and relationship with their gametes that are open to dispute. This paper teases out some of these assumptions and puts pressure on them by drawing on the growing body of data about what women actually do think and feel about fertility issues. It focuses on two of his main concerns—that social egg freezing may give women a false sense of security and that women may be harmed if a market in eggs leads to their alienation from their gametes. Via this response to Robertson, I aim to redress the tendency often seen in discussions around women, infertility, aging, and empowerment to unquestioningly accept what I argue are stereotypes and assumptions about women's views and capacity to reason.
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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to understand medical students' knowledge, intentions, and attitudes towards oocyte cryopreservation and employer coverage of such treatment. Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed via an online cross-sectional survey distributed to 280 female medical students from March through August 2016. Demographics, attitudes towards employer coverage, and factors influencing decision-making were assessed via a self-reported multiple-choice questionnaire. The relationship between respondents' attitudes towards employer coverage and other parameters was analyzed. Results: A total of 99 responses were obtained out of 280 female medical students. Most respondents (71%) would consider oocyte cryopreservation (potential freezers), although 8% would not consider the procedure and 21% were unsure. Seventy-six percent of respondents felt pressure to delay childbearing. Potential freezers were more likely to be single (p = 0.001), to report feeling pressure to delay childbearing (p = 0.016), and to consider egg freezing if offered by an employer (p < 0.001). Importantly, 71% percent did not view employer coverage as coercive and 77% of respondents would not delay childbearing due to employer coverage. Factors influencing decision-making in potential freezers were absence of a suitable partner (83%), likelihood of success (95%), and health of offspring (94%), among others. Knowledge about the low chance of pregnancy per oocyte (6-10%) would influence decision-making in 42% of potential freezers. Conclusion: Oocyte freezing is an acceptable strategy for the majority of young women surveyed. Pressure to delay childbearing was related to openness to freeze eggs. The majority of respondents did not find employer coverage for egg freezing coercive although further research is needed with larger, representative samples to ascertain the relationship between pressure to delay childbearing due to work demands and employer coverage for egg freezing.
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Objective This study aimed to determine what Brazilian childless women of reproductive age think about oocyte cryopreservation to postpone pregnancy and their reasons for performing or not performing this procedure. Methods Women of reproductive age were randomly selected from the general population using different e-mail lists and were invited to participate in the study by completing an online web survey regarding social oocyte cryopreservation. The survey was also distributed through social media to women of reproductive age. Results Although most of the responders had a partner (86.9%) and had already planned the pregnancy of their first child (69.6%), 85.4% (379) considered the potential of social oocyte freezing to improve their chances of giving birth later in life. Those that had already planned pregnancy were two times more likely to intend to freeze their oocytes (p=0.03). The most important barrier for not undergoing oocyte cryopreservation was cost. The women who indicated that they could not currently undergo the procedure now because of cost were two times (p=0.03) more likely to intend to cryopreserve their oocytes than women who thought that they would not need to delay pregnancy. Conclusion Brazilian women who think that they are not ready to have a family are discovering the option of oocyte cryopreservation. Most participants considered safeguarding their reproductive potential. Making the procedure more accessible could give women the opportunity to make proactive decisions about the future of their fertility.
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STUDY QUESTION What is known in Europe about the practice of oocyte cryopreservation (OoC), in terms of current statutory background, funding conditions, indications (medical and ‘non-medical’) and specific number of cycles? SUMMARY ANSWER Laws and conditions for OoC vary in Europe, with just over half the responding countries providing this for medical reasons with state funding, and none providing funding for ‘non-medical’ OoC. WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN The practice of OoC is a well-established and increasing practice in some European countries, but data gathering on storage is not homogeneous, and still sparse for use. Ovarian tissue cryopreservation (OtC) is only practiced and registered in a few countries. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, AND DURATION A transversal collaborative survey on OoC and OtC, was designed, based on a country questionnaire containing information on statutory or professional background and practice, as well as available data on ovarian cell and tissue collection, storage and use. It was performed between January and September 2015. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING AND METHODS All ESHRE European IVF Monitoring (EIM) consortium national coordinators were contacted, as well as members of the ESHRE committee of national representatives, and sent a questionnaire. The form included national policy and practice details, whether through current existing law or code of practice, criteria for freezing (age, health status), availability of funding and the presence of a specific register. The questionnaire also included data on both the number of OoC cycles and cryopreserved oocytes per year between 2010 and 2014, specifically for egg donation, fertility preservation for medical disease, ‘other medical’ reasons as part of an ART cycle, as well as for ‘non-medical reasons’ or age-related fertility decline. Another question concerning data on freezing and use of ovarian tissue over 5 years was added and sent after receiving the initial questionnaire. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE Out of 34 EIM members, we received answers regarding OoC regulations and funding conditions from 27, whilst 17 countries had recorded data for OoC, and 12 for OtC. The specific statutory framework for OoC and OtC varies from absent to a strict frame. A total of 34 705 OoC cycles were reported during the 5-year-period, with a continuous increase. However, the accurate description of numbers was concentrated on the year 2013 because it was the most complete. In 2013, a total of 9126 aspirations involving OoC were reported from 16 countries. Among the 8885 oocyte aspirations with fully available data, the majority or 5323 cycles (59.9%) was performed for egg donation, resulting in the highest yield per cycle, with an average of 10.4 oocytes frozen per cycle. OoC indication was ‘serious disease’ such as cancer in 10.9% of cycles, other medical indications as ‘part of an ART cycle’ in 16.1%, and a non-medical reason in 13.1%. With regard to the use of OoC, the number of specifically recorded frozen oocyte replacement (FOR) cycles performed in 2013 for all medical reasons was 14 times higher than the FOR for non-medical reasons, using, respectively, 8.0 and 8.4 oocytes per cycle. Finally, 12 countries recorded storage following OtC and only 7 recorded the number of grafted frozen/thawed tissues. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION Not all countries have data regarding OoC collection, and some data came from voluntary collaborating centres, rather than a national authority or register. Furthermore, the data related to use of OoC were not included for two major players in the field, Italy and Spain, where numbers were conflated for medical and non-medical reasons. Finally, the number of cycles started with no retrieval is not available. Data are even sparser for OtC. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS There is a need for ART authorities and professional bodies to record precise data for practice and use of OoC (and OtC), according to indications and usage, in order to reliably inform all stakeholders including women about the efficiency of both methods. Furthermore, professional societies should establish professional standards for access to and use of OoC and OtC, and give appropriate guidance to all involved. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) The study was supported by ESHRE. There are no conflicts of interest. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER N/A.
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Study question: What are the reproductive experiences of women who cryopreserve oocytes for non-medical reasons? Summary answer: One in three women had been pregnant at some stage in their lives and while most still wanted to have a child or another child, very few had used their stored oocytes, predominantly because they did not want to be single parents. What is known already: The number of healthy women who freeze oocytes to avoid age-related infertility is increasing. Evidence about reproductive outcomes after oocyte cryopreservation for non-medical reasons is needed to help women make informed decisions. Study design size, duration: A cross-sectional survey was carried out. Study packs which included a self-administered questionnaire were mailed by clinic staff to 193 eligible women. Participants/materials, setting, methods: Women who had stored oocytes for non-medical reasons at Melbourne IVF, a private ART clinic, between 1999 and 2014 were identified from medical records and invited to complete an anonymous questionnaire about their reproductive histories and experience of oocyte cryopreservation. Main results and the role of chance: A total of 10 survey packs were returned to the clinic marked 'address unknown'. Of the 183 potential respondents, 96 (53%) returned the questionnaire. One respondent provided only free-text comments, thus data from 95 respondents were compiled. The mean age at the time of freezing oocytes was 37.1 years (SD ± 2.6, range: 27-42) and the average number of oocytes stored was 14.2 (SD ± 7.9, range: 0-42); 2% had attempted to store oocytes but had none suitable for freezing, 24% had stored <8 oocytes, 35% had 8-15, 25% had 16-23 and 14% had stored >23 oocytes. About one-third of respondents (34%) had been pregnant at some point in their lives. Six women (6%) had used their stored oocytes and three of them had given birth as a result. The main reason for not using stored oocytes was not wanting to be a single parent. Of the 87 (91%) women who still had oocytes stored, 21% intended to use them while 69% indicated that their circumstances would determine usage. The mean number of children respondents would ideally have liked to have was significantly higher than the number of children they expected to have (2.11 versus 1.38, P < 0.001). Limitations, reasons for caution: The limitations are inherent to any anonymously completed questionnaire: participation bias, missing data and the possibility that some questions or response alternatives may have been ambiguous. Wider implications of the findings: The findings add to the very limited evidence about the reproductive outcomes experienced by women who freeze oocytes for non-medical reasons and can be used to help women make informed decisions about whether to store oocytes. Study funding/competing interests: The study was funded by Melbourne IVF. K.H. has received honoraria from Merck-Serono, J.M. is a clinician at Melbourne IVF, F.A. is a Melbourne IVF employee, J.F. is supported by a Monash Professorial Fellowship and the Jean Hailes Professorial Fellowship which receives funding from the L and H Hecht Trust, managed by Perpetual Trustees Pty Ltd. M.K., N.P., M.H., M.P. and C.B. have no competing interests. Trial registration number: Not applicable.
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With the development of rapid freezing of human oocytes, many programs have reported IVF success rates comparable to those achieved with fresh eggs and thawed frozen embryos. Egg freezing is now gaining professional and regulatory acceptance as a safe and effective technique for women who wish to avoid discarding excess embryos, who face fertility-threatening medical treatments, or who want to preserve their eggs for use when they are better situated to have a family. This article focuses on the uses of and justification for egg freezing, the path to professional acceptance, the variability in success rates, and the controversy over freezing eggs for social rather than medical reasons. It also addresses the emergence of egg banking as a separate sector in the infertility industry, the regulatory issues that it poses, and its effect on egg donation. Key here is the legal control of stored eggs by banking women and their options when they wish to dispose of those eggs. The analysis is framed around empowerment and alienation. Egg freezing is generally empowering for women, but the donation or sale of unused eggs to infertile women, egg bankers, and researchers also raises issues of alienation.
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Thematic analysis is a poorly demarcated, rarely acknowledged, yet widely used qualitative analytic method within psychology. In this paper, we argue that it offers an accessible and theoretically flexible approach to analysing qualitative data. We outline what thematic analysis is, locating it in relation to other qualitative analytic methods that search for themes or patterns, and in relation to different epistemological and ontological positions. We then provide clear guidelines to those wanting to start thematic analysis, or conduct it in a more deliberate and rigorous way, and consider potential pitfalls in conducting thematic analysis. Finally, we outline the disadvantages and advantages of thematic analysis. We conclude by advocating thematic analysis as a useful and flexible method for qualitative research in and beyond psychology.
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Introduction Oocyte cryopreservation is a useful tool for preserving the fertility of cancer patients at risk of losing ovarian function due to undergoing potentially sterilising therapies. Results obtained with different cryopreservation protocols have been disappointing, particularly those obtained with slow cooling procedures. The efficacy of vitrification as an application in clinical practice has recently been demonstrated. The aim of this study is to report results obtained with the Cryotop method of oocyte vitrification in a population of healthy women and to point out its potential usefulness for fertility preservation in oncological patients. Materials and methods The study population consisting of non-oncological patients included 47 oocyte donors and 57 recipients undergoing an oocyte donation cycle of assisted reproductive technology (ART). A total of 693 mature metaphase II oocytes were collected following ovarian stimulation using long protocol down-regulation plus gonadotropin administration. Vitrification was carried out by means of the Cryotop method. Oocytes were donated to a compatible recipient after endometrial preparation. Results Of the 693 oocytes, 666 (96.1%) survived. A total of 487 (73.1%) were fertilised successfully. One hundred and seventeen embryos were transferred to 57 recipients. Pregnancy rate per transfer and implantation rates were 63.2% and 38.5% respectively. Twenty-eight healthy babies were later born. Conclusions Oocyte cryo-banking by means of the Cryotop vitrification method represents a viable option for healthy women, producing excellent survival rates and a clinical outcome similar to that obtained with fresh oocytes. This approach could potentially be used in cancer patients who want to safeguard their fertility. Cancer patients could potentially benefit from this approach by storing their oocytes before the onset of the oncological therapy.
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The recent introduction of oocyte vitrification has significantly advanced the outcome of oocyte cryopreservation, leading to clinical results comparable to those achieved in IVF using fresh oocytes, as reported by experienced centres. This has lead to new debate, both in the professional community and in society at large, about the acceptability of offering this technology to reproductively healthy women who want to cryopreserve their oocytes against the threat of time. Given the many demands calling for simultaneous realization in a relatively short period of their lives, many women who want to have children feel to be under considerable pressure. The option of oocyte cryopreservation may in fact give them more breathing space. In this document, it is concluded that the arguments against allowing this application of the technology are not convincing. The recommendations include the need for adequate information of women interested in oocyte cryopreservation, also in order to avoid raising false hopes. The message must remain that women's best chances of having a healthy child are through natural reproduction at a relative early age. Centres offering this service must have the necessary expertise to employ oocyte cryopreservation efficiently with the so far non-standardized protocols. As data about long-term safety is still lacking, centres also have a responsibility to contribute to the collection of these data.
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An efficient oocyte cryopreservation method is mandatory to establish a successful egg-banking programme. Although there are increasing reports showing good clinical outcomes after oocyte cryopreservation, there is still a lack of large controlled studies evaluating the effectiveness of oocyte cryo-banking. In this study, we aimed to compare the outcome of vitrified-banked oocytes with the gold standard procedure of employing fresh oocytes. A randomized, prospective, triple-blind, single-centre, parallel-group controlled-clinical trial (NCT00785993), including 600 recipients (alpha = 0.05 and power of 80% for sample-size calculation) selected among 1032 eligible patients from November 2008 to September 2009, was designed to compare the outcome of vitrified-banked oocytes with the gold standard procedure of employing fresh oocytes. The study was designed to establish the superiority of the ongoing pregnancy rate (OPR) of fresh oocytes over that of vitrified oocytes, by performing a likelihood ratio test in a logistic regression analysis expressed as odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence interval (CI). A limit of 0.66 for OR of vitrified versus fresh groups was defined to set up a possible conversion from superiority to non-inferiority. Randomization was performed 1:1 based on a computer randomization list in vitrification (n = 300) or fresh groups (n = 300). The primary end-point was the OPR per randomized patient i.e. intention-to-treat population (ITT). Secondary end-points were clinical pregnancy (CPR), implantation (IR) and fertilization rates, respectively. Additionally, embryo developmental characteristics were recorded. There were no differences in donor ovarian stimulation parameters, demographic baseline characteristics for donors and recipients, ovum donation indications or male factor distribution between groups (NS). The OPR per ITT was 43.7 and 41.7% in the vitrification and fresh groups, respectively. The OR of OPR was 0.921 in favour of the vitrification group. Nevertheless, the 95% CI was 0.667-1.274, thus the superiority of fresh group with respect to OPR was not proven (P = 0.744). Non-inferiority of the vitrified group compared with the fresh group was shown with a margin of 0.667, which was above the pre-established non-inferiority limit of 0.66. CPR per cycle (50.2 versus 49.8%; P = 0.933) or per embryo-transfer (55.4 versus 55.6% ; P = 0.974), and IR (39.9 versus 40.9%; P = 0.745) were similar for patients receiving either vitrified or fresh oocytes. The proportion of top-quality embryos obtained either by inseminated oocyte (30.8 versus 30.8% for Day-2; and 36.1 versus 37.7% for Day-3, respectively) or by cleaved embryos (43.6 versus 43.8% for Day-2 and 58.4 versus 60.7% for Day-3, respectively) was similar between groups (NS). This controlled-randomized, clinical trial confirmed the effectiveness of oocyte cryo-storage in an ovum donation programme, failing to demonstrate the superiority of using fresh oocytes with respect to the use of vitrified egg-banked ones in terms of OPR. Instead, the non-inferiority of vitrified oocytes was confirmed. These findings involve highly relevant issues that may open a new range of possibilities in ART.
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A successful oocyte cryopreservation programme is of utmost importance where a limited number of oocytes can be inseminated per cycle, to overcome legal and ethical issues related to embryo storage, for oocyte donation programmes and for fertility preservation (especially for cancer patients). Vitrification has been recently proposed as an effective procedure for this purpose. In order to validate the effectiveness of oocyte vitrification a non-inferiority trial was started on sibling metaphase II (MII) oocytes. To demonstrate the non-inferiority based on an absolute difference of 17% in the fertilization rate per sibling oocyte, a minimum of 222 oocytes were required. After oocyte denudation, MII oocytes with normal morphology were randomly allocated to fresh ICSI insemination or to vitrification procedure. If pregnancy was not obtained a subsequent ICSI cycle was performed with warmed oocytes of the same cohort. In both groups, three oocytes were inseminated per cycle by ICSI procedure. Primary end-points were fertilization rates calculated per warmed and per injected oocytes. Secondary end-points were zygote and embryo morphology. A total of 244 oocytes were involved in this study. Of the 120 fresh sibling oocytes inseminated, 100 were fertilized (83.3%). Survival rate of sibling vitrified oocytes was 96.8% (120/124 oocytes). Fertilization rate after ICSI was 76.6% (95/124) per warmed oocyte and 79.2% (95/120) per survived/inseminated oocyte. No statistical difference in fertilization rates was observed between the two groups when calculated per sibling oocytes (absolute difference -6.73%; OR: 0.65; 95% CI = 0.33-1.29; P = 0.20) and per inseminated oocyte (absolute difference -4.17%; OR: 0.76; 95% CI = 0.37-1.53; P = 0.50). Embryo development was also similar in both treatment groups up till Day 2. The percentage of excellent quality embryos was 52.0% (52/100) in the fresh group and 51.6% (49/95) in the vitrification group (absolute difference -0.43%; OR: 0.98; 95% CI = 0.53-1.79; P = 0.9). The mean age of the 40 patients included in this study was 35.5 +/- 4.8 years (range 26-42). Fifteen clinical pregnancies were obtained in the vitrification cycles of 39 embryo transfers performed (37.5% per cycle, 38.5% per embryo transfer), with an implantation rate of 20.2% (19/94). Three spontaneous miscarriages occurred (20%). Twelve pregnancies are ongoing (30.0% per cycle, 30.8% per embryo transfer) beyond 12 weeks of gestation. Our results indicate that oocyte vitrification procedure followed by ICSI is not inferior to fresh insemination procedure, with regard to fertilization and embryo developmental rates. Moreover, ongoing clinical pregnancy is compatible with this procedure, even with a restricted number of oocytes available for insemination. The promising clinical results obtained, in a population of infertile patients, need to be confirmed on a larger scale. Clinical Trials Registration number: iSRCTN60158641.
Article
Background In 2014, companies began covering the costs of egg freezing for their employees. The adoption of this benefit was highly contentious. Some argued that it offered women more reproductive autonomy, buying time to succeed in their careers and postpone childbearing. Others suggested this benefit might place inappropriate pressure on women, unduly influencing them to freeze their eggs to prioritize their career over reproduction. Although ethical problems with this benefit have been explored, there has not been research analyzing the perspectives of women working for companies that offer employer-based egg freezing. Furthermore, existing empirical studies often focus on the experiences of egg freezers rather than the young women thinking about, but not yet using, this technology. Methods: Through in-depth semi-structured interviews, we explore the perceptions and attitudes of 25 women employees of companies with employer-based egg freezing. Results: These women describe delaying childbearing for a multitude of reasons, including not having a partner, and the desire to achieve social and career goals. Many women did not know that their employers covered egg freezing before the interview (44%; 11/24), suggesting this benefit is not essential to their career and family-building decisions. While women did not describe pressure to use this technology, they did describe how this benefit would not solve the difficulties of becoming a mother while excelling in their careers. Conclusion: Although women may not feel pressure to freeze their eggs and delay childbearing, they still feel constricted in their reproductive options. While employer programs may offer women the ability to delay childbearing, many saw this delay as postponing problems with work-life balance rather than solving them. We suggest that sociocultural shifts, such as workplace daycare, flexible workplace hours, and acceptability of non-biological parenthood, might allow women to feel more empowered about their reproduction choices.
Article
STUDY QUESTION What are the cohort trends of women undergoing oocyte cryopreservation (OC)? SUMMARY ANSWER There has been a dramatic increase in OC cycles undertaken each year since 2010, and the demographics of women accessing OC has shifted to a younger age group, but so far very few women have returned to use their cryopreserved oocytes in treatments. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Although OC, as a method of fertility preservation, is offered around the world, global data are lacking on who is accessing OC, who is returning to thaw oocytes and whether these trends are changing. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION A trinational retrospective cohort study was performed of 31 191 OC cycles and 972 oocyte thaw (OT) cycles undertaken in the USA (2010–2016) and 3673 OC and 517 OT cycles undertaken in Australia/New Zealand (Aus/NZ; 2010–2015). PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS Data were obtained from the USA Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) national registry and the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD). De-identified data were requested on all autologous oocyte freeze-all cycles and all cycles where autologous oocytes were thawed to be used in a treatment cycle for the time periods of interest. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE In both the USA and Aus/NZ, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of OC cycles performed each year (+880% in the USA from 2010 to 2016 and +311% in Aus/NZ from 2010 to 2015). Across both regions, most women undergoing OC were aged in their late 30s, but the average age decreased over time (USA: 36.7 years vs 34.7 years in 2010 and 2016, respectively). The number of women returning for thaw cycles was low (USA: 413 in 2016, Aus/NZ: 141 in 2015) and most thaw cycles (47%) across both regions involved oocytes that were frozen for <6 months. In the USA, a higher proportion of cycles resulted in a live birth when only thawed oocytes were used, compared to cycles that combined thawed oocytes with fresh oocytes (25% vs 11%, respectively; P < 0.001). Age at retrieval influenced live birth rate in the USA; 38% of thaw cycles started in women who stored oocytes when aged ≤35 years resulted in a live birth, whereas only 16% resulted in a live birth for women who stored oocytes when aged ≥36 years. Similar data were unobtainable from Aus/NZ. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION There were limitations associated with both the SART and ANZARD data outputs received. The format in which the ANZARD data were provided, and the inconsistencies seen amongst cycle reporting in the SART dataset, restricted data interpretation. For example, both datasets did not provide a clear indication as to why women were undergoing OC and it was not possible to accurately calculate duration of storage for thaw cycles in the USA. We also did not obtain details on embryo quality from either database and acknowledge that embryo quality and subsequent outcome (embryo freezing or discard) would be of interest, especially when considering the efficacy of OC. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS The data show that there is widespread demand for OC, and it is increasingly undertaken by younger women; however, the limitations encountered in the dataset support the need for a shift to a more uniform approach to data collection and presentation by large databases, worldwide. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) This study received funding from the Fertility Society of Australia to support the ANZARD data extraction. M.J. is supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship stipend. The authors declare no competing interests. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER N/A.
Article
Increasingly, major U.S. employers in industries notorious for work-family conflict are beginning to offer egg freezing as an employee benefit. Proponents celebrate the inclusion of this technology into company-sponsored health plans as empowering professional women to “have it all” by postponing motherhood in favor of their professional pursuits, while critics voice concerns regarding its implications for reproductive autonomy and gender equality. Through 40 interviews with child-free women of reproductive age who work in industries that sponsor egg freezing, I investigate how work and career concerns shape professional women’s engagement with elective egg freezing. The dominant narrative established in earlier research on women’s motivations for undertaking the procedure downplays the significance of career pressures. However, this article finds that egg freezing manifests as an attempt to manage risks inherent to women’s intentions to form families in a professional landscape that is resistant to motherhood and family. Egg freezing suggests a potential reconciliation of future motherhood and professional work by adjusting women’s reproductive timelines to “perfect” the timing of reproduction to synchronize with career trajectory.
Article
Objectives To assess trends, predictors, and perinatal outcomes of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles in the United States. Design Retrospective cohort study using National Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance System (NASS) data. Setting Not applicable. Patient(s) Fresh autologous and embryo-banking cycles performed from 2000 to 2015. Interventions(s) None. Main Outcome Measure(s) OHSS, first-trimester loss, second-trimester loss, stillbirth, low birth weight, and preterm delivery. Result(s) The proportion of IVF cycles complicated by OHSS increased from 10.0 to 14.3 cases per 1,000 from 2000 to 2006, and decreased to 5.3 per 1,000 from 2006 to 2015. The risk of OHSS was highest for cycles with more than 30 oocytes retrieved (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 3.85). OHSS was associated with a diagnosis of ovulatory disorder (aRR 2.61), tubal factor (aRR 1.14), uterine factor (aRR 1.17) and cycles resulting in pregnancy (aRR 3.12). In singleton pregnancies, OHSS was associated with increased risk of low birth weight (aRR 1.29) and preterm delivery (aRR 1.32). In twin pregnancies, OHSS was associated with an increased risk of second-trimester loss (aRR 1.81), low birth weight (aRR 1.06), and preterm delivery (aRR 1.16). Conclusion(s) Modifiable predictive factors for OHSS include number of oocytes retrieved, pregnancy following fresh embryo transfer, and the type of medication used for pituitary suppression during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation. Patients affected by OHSS had a higher risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight. Clinicians should take measures to reduce the risk of OHSS whenever possible.
Article
Introduction: Elective oocyte freezing started in Sweden in 2011, a few years after oocyte vitrification was introduced internationally as an effective method for cryopreservation of oocytes. The objective of this study is to describe the age of the women who choose to undergo this procedure, the subsequent utilization of cryopreserved oocytes and the results of autologous in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Material and methods: We conducted a descriptive follow-up study of a subset of patients at a private IVF center. All women (n=254) who electively vitrified oocytes at Nordic IVF Göteborg between August 1, 2011 and August 31, 2017 were included. Ages at oocyte vitrification and warming, number of vitrified oocytes and results of IVF are presented. Results: A total of 254 women underwent elective oocyte freezing and 38 (15%) of these returned to utilize their cryopreserved oocytes for autologous IVF before November 2018. In the total cohort, the mean number of vitrified oocytes per woman, undergoing one or more oocyte retrievals, was 7.6 (range 1-37). Their mean age at first vitrification was 36.9 years (range 23-43 years). The mean ages for the subset of women that subsequently used their oocytes for IVF were 38.7 and 42.7 years at vitrification and oocyte warming, respectively. Forty-nine oocyte warming cycles resulting in 42 fresh and 16 frozen embryo transfers have been performed. Cumulative live birth rate/ongoing pregnancy rate is 63%, 26% and 0%, in women of ages 36-37 years, 38-39 years and ≥ 40 years of age at vitrification, respectively. Five babies have been born and there are five ongoing pregnancies. Conclusions: Elective oocyte freezing has been offered in Sweden for more than 7 years. The utilization rate has so far been low. Pregnancy results after oocyte warming and IVF are encouraging when oocytes are cryopreserved at an age below 40 years. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
Research question: What can we learn from 5 years of egg-freezing practice in the UK? What are the different categories of egg freezing, and what are the social and demographic characteristics of patients, and their decisions regarding subsequent storage or thawing? Design: A retrospective analysis of clinical and laboratory data of all 514 cycles of 'own' egg freezing conducted at the London Women's Clinic in the 5-year period from the start of 2012 to the end of 2016. Results: This analysis, the first of its kind, develops a clearer picture of egg-freezing trends in the UK and fills in the details behind the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's national figures. Four different categories of egg freezing are identified and the appropriate category allocated to each of the 514 cycles undertaken by 352 patients. To the established categories of 'medical' and 'social' already discussed in the literature, we add the two new categories of 'clinical' and 'incidental' egg freezing. We show how each of these categories presents a distinct egg-freezing patient profile, and discuss the similarities and differences between them across variables such as age, relationship status, number of eggs frozen, number of egg-freezing cycles undertaken, and the current status of frozen eggs. Conclusions: The data require a reconceptualization of the phenomenon of egg freezing, and argue for the importance of clearly and accurately differentiating between different categories of egg-freezing practice in clinical and national data collection in order to adequately inform future practice, regulation and the decision-making processes of patients considering these procedures.
Article
In 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) lifted the experimental label on oocyte preservation, but cautioned against women using it to avoid age-related infertility, known as social egg freezing (SEF). In 2014, Facebook and Apple announced that they would offer SEF as a workplace benefit. Within the context of a rapidly growing market for SEF, we were interested in how these two decisions affected media discussions, given that such discourse can strongly influence public perceptions and behaviors. We used a content analysis methodology to code 138 articles published in U.S. newspapers and magazines between 2012 and 2015. Focusing on a financial concern over the cost of SEF and the lack of insurance for SEF, we found that media portrayals of SEF pivot away from the ethical principle of nonmaleficence centered in the ASRM decision to discourage SEF. Instead, they highlight an issue of justice that can be remedied through the offer of SEF as a workplace benefit. Overall, media portrayals of SEF paint a simplistic and rosy picture that more options, especially more reproductive and economic options, automatically enhance women’s autonomy.
Article
This study examines women’s use of egg freezing as a tool to renegotiate the relationship between romantic and reproductive trajectories and temporalities. We interviewed 52 participants who were considering freezing their eggs, were in the process of freezing their eggs, had already frozen their eggs, or had considered freezing their eggs and chose not to do so. We find that most of our participants used egg freezing to disentangle the trajectory of finding a partner from the trajectory of having children, with the end goal of bundled marriage and childbearing. For some participants, this temporary disentangling is an intermediate step toward fully decoupling these trajectories through single parenthood. Using this critical case, we move beyond previous work on sequencing and timing in the life course by focusing on (1) individuals’ subjective experiences of time and (2) the ways women manage and manipulate time in the life course. Finally, we show how these theoretical tools can be used to better understand other empirical cases in the life course.
Article
As the average age of motherhood in many Western countries continues to rise, the spectacle of the older mother and the trend towards delayed childbearing has been the subject of much public debate and interest. Concurrent to this trend has been the development and use of a new form of fertility preservation – social egg freezing – a technology which by its very nature is meant to enable reproductive delay. Whilst previous studies have been able to provide insights into the complex and often interrelating structural, economic, and relational factors shaping the timing of motherhood, and in some cases women's use of social egg freezing, fewer studies have clearly demonstrated the way these factors themselves, as well as the accounts of individual women, can be seen as being shaped by ideological and discursive forces. Drawing on interviews with 31 users of social egg freezing this article will demonstrate how women's accounts of reproductive delay and use of egg freezing technology can be seen as being shaped by neoliberal rationality, heteronormativity, discourses of ‘appropriate parenting’ and gendered ideologies of parenthood.
Article
There's no doubt that reproductive technologies can transform lives for the better. Infertile couples and single, lesbian, gay, intersex, and transgender people have the potential to form families in ways that would have been inconceivable years ago. Yet we are concerned about the widespread commercialization of certain egg-freezing programs, the messages they propagate about motherhood, the way they blur the line between care and experimentation, and the manipulative and exaggerated marketing that stretches the truth and inspires false hope in women of various ages. We argue that although reproductive technology, and egg freezing in particular, promise to improve women's care by offering more choices to achieve pregnancy and childbearing, they actually have the potential to be disempowering. First, commercial motives in the fertility industry distort women's medical deliberations, thereby restricting their autonomy; second, having the option to freeze their eggs can change the meaning of women's reproductive choices in a way that is limiting rather than liberating.
Chapter
Fertility preservation (FP) is an emerging, rapidly evolving branch of reproductive medicine comprising the preservation of gametes (sperm, oocytes), and reproductive tissue (ovarian, testicular), giving individuals at risk of losing their reproductive ability the chance to conceive and have their own genetic offspring. Cancer patients to undergo surgery or start chemotherapy or radiotherapy, other medical conditions leading to premature menopause, and healthy women wishing to postpone childbearing, are the main beneficiaries of this strategy. Options for women to safeguard their fertility include the cryopreservation of ovarian tissue or oocytes.
Article
Objective: This study aimed to explore the characteristics and circumstances of women who cryopreserved their oocytes for non-medical indications and their reasons for cryopreservation. Background: Oocyte cryopreservation for non-medical reasons is becoming increasingly common. Little is known about women who freeze their oocytes in this context. Methods: All women who had cryopreserved oocytes for non-medical indications at a large Australian fertility treatment centre from 1999 to 2014 were invited to complete an anonymous postal survey. Results: Of the 193 questionnaires mailed, 10 were returned to sender; 96/183 (53%) were completed and returned. Most respondents had completed tertiary education (90%) and were employed in professional occupations (89%). At the time of oocyte cryopreservation, 48% of women were aged at least 38 years (range 28–44 years). Most (90%) women were single when their oocytes were frozen. The lack of a partner or having a partner unwilling to commit to fatherhood were the most common reasons for oocyte freezing, which was viewed as an investment in hope against the possibility of remaining in these predicaments. Some women reported that discussions in the media and interactions with peers influenced their decisions. A few women were influenced by tests indicating a low ovarian reserve. Conclusion: These data provide new evidence about women’s characteristics, circumstances, and reasons for oocyte cryopreservation for non-medical indications that do not support pejorative conceptualisations of these women as selfish and hedonistic.
Article
Study question: What factors inform a woman's decision-making about oocyte freezing to preserve fertility for social and medical reasons? Summary answer: Women lacked knowledge about the costs and viability of oocyte freezing as a fertility preservation option for social and medical reasons, and identified health consequences, costs, and viability as being particularly influential in their decision-making. What is known already: Having only recently become a viable fertility preservation option, relatively little is known about childless women's beliefs or knowledge about oocyte freezing for social or medical reasons. Study design, size, duration: A cross sectional study of 500 childless women was conducted in August, 2015. Participants/materials, setting, methods: A total of 500 childless, presumed fertile, women from 18 to 38 years of age completed an online, self-report questionnaire assessing beliefs and knowledge about oocyte freezing to preserve fertility for social or medical reasons. Main results and the role of chance: Financial costs (85.6%), health risks to themselves (86.4%) or their offspring (87.8%), and success rates (82%) were the primary factors that women felt would influence their decision to freeze their oocytes. Partner's feelings (88.6%), prognosis for a full recovery (85.4%), and concerns about the health effects of the hormones or oocyte retrieval procedure (85.4%) were identified as being particularly important when considering oocyte freezing for medical reasons. Consistent with their perceptions of having little or no knowledge about oocyte freezing, there was an overall correct response rate of 33% to the 12 knowledge questions. Limitations, reasons for caution: The online format and use of a survey company to recruit participants may have increased the risk of self-selection bias and limit the generalizability of these findings. The findings may also be limited by the fact that the participants were not facing cancer treatments, and the younger participants were not nearing the end of their reproductive lifespan, and therefore would not have had reason to learn about, or consider, fertility preservation for medical or social reasons. Wider implications of the findings: Given the worldwide trend towards delaying childbearing and the increasing availability of oocyte freezing as an option to preserve women's fertility, it is likely these results could be extended to wider North American, European, and Australasian populations of English speaking childless women. Study funding/competing interests: No specific funding. No competing interests.
Article
Objective: To provide female age-related estimates of fecundity and incidence of infertility by history of prior pregnancy among women 30-44 years of age. Design: Prospective, time-to-pregnancy cohort study. Setting: Not applicable. Patient(s): Women, between 30 and 44 years of age, attempting to conceive for ≤3 months, and no known history of infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or endometriosis. Intervention(s): Not applicable. Main outcome measure(s): Fecundability and incidence of infertility. Result(s): Compared to women aged 30-31 years, fecundability was reduced by 14% in women 34-35 years of age (fecundability ratio [FR] 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.68-1.08), 19% in women 36-37 years of age (FR 0.81, 95% CI 0.60-1.08, 30% in women 38-39 years of age (FR 0.70, 95% CI 0.48-1.01), 53% in women 40-41 years of age (FR 0.47, 95% CI 0.28-0.78), and 59% in women 42-44 years of age (FR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16-0.93). Fecundability did not differ between women aged 30-31 years and 32-33 years. In general, fecundability and cumulative probability of pregnancy was lower for women who had never had a prior pregnancy. Conclusion(s): Women experience a significant reduction in fecundity and increase in the probability of infertility in their late thirties. At any age >30 years, women who have never conceived have a lower probability of achieving a pregnancy. Clinical trial registration number: NCT01028365.
Article
Objective: To provide a detailed description of the current oocyte vitrification status as a means of elective fertility preservation (EFP). Design: Retrospective observational multicenter study. Setting: Private university-affiliated center. Patient(s): A total of 1,468 women who underwent EFP because of age or having associated a medical condition other than cancer (January 2007 to April 2015). Intervention(s): None. Main outcome measure(s): Survival and cumulative live birth rate (CLBR) per consumed oocyte. Result(s): Mean age was higher with EFP due to age versus having an associated medical reason (37.7 y [95% confidence interval (CI) 36.5-37.9] vs. 35.7 y [95% CI 34.9-36.3]). In total, 137 patients (9.3%) returned to use their oocytes. Overall survival rate was 85.2% (95% CI 83.2-87.2). Live birth rate per patient was higher in women ≤35 years old than ≥36 years old (50% [95% CI 32.7-67.3] vs. 22.9% [95% CI 14.9-30.9]). CLBR was higher and increased faster in younger women. The gain in CLBR was sharp from 5 (15.4%, 95% CI -4.2 to 35.0) to 8 oocytes (40.8%, 95% CI 13.2-68.4), with an 8.4% gain per additional oocyte, in the ≤35-year-old group. The increase was slower with 10-15 oocytes, reaching a plateau CLBR of 85.2%. A milder increase (4.9% gain) was observed in the ≥36-year-old group (from 5.1% [95% CI -0.6 to 10.7] to 19.9% [95% CI 8.7-31.1] when 5-8 oocytes were consumed), reaching the plateau with 11 oocytes (CLBR 35.6%). Forty babies were born. Conclusion(s): At least 8-10 metaphase II oocytes are necessary to achieve reasonable success. Numbers should be individualized in women >36 years old. We suggest encouraging women who are motivated exclusively by a desire to postpone childbearing because of age, to come at younger ages to increase success possibilities.
Article
A critical ethical analysis of the initiative of several companies to cover the costs of oocyte cryopreservation for their healthy employees. The main research question is whether such policies promote or confine women's reproductive autonomy. A distinction needs to be made between the ethics of AGE banking in itself and the ethics of employers offering it to their employees. Although the utility of the former is expected to be low, there are few persuasive arguments to deny access to oocyte cryopreservation to women who are well informed about the procedure and the success rates. However, it does not automatically follow that it would be ethically unproblematic for employers to offer egg banking to their employees. For these policies to be truly 'liberating', a substantial number of conditions need to be fulfilled, which can be reduced to three categories: (1) women should understand the benefits, risks and limitations, (2) women should feel no pressure to take up the offer; (3) the offer should have no negative effect on other family-friendly policies and should in fact be accompanied by such policies. Fulfilling these conditions may turn out to be impossible. Thus, regardless of companies' possible good intentions, women's reproductive autonomy is not well served by offering them company-sponsored AGE banking.
Article
This paper examines the relatively recent practice of non-medical egg freezing, in which women bank their eggs for later use in conceiving a child. Non-medical egg freezing has only been available for about the last five years, as new vitrification techniques have made the success rates for actual conception more reliable than the earlier method of slow freezing. I draw on interviews with both clinicians and women who have banked their eggs to consider how this novel practice articulates with broader issues about the relationship between sexuality, reproduction and the political economy of household formation. Non-medical egg-freezing provides a technical solution to a number of different problems women face with regard to the elongation of the life course, the extension of education, the cost of household establishment and the iterative nature of relationship formation, thematised by the ubiquity of internet dating among the interviewees. I focus on the ways women used egg freezing to manage and reconcile different forms of time. http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/MVizf4twWBbInRtsQqJk/full
Book
From the reviews of the First Edition."An interesting, useful, and well-written book on logistic regression models . . . Hosmer and Lemeshow have used very little mathematics, have presented difficult concepts heuristically and through illustrative examples, and have included references."—Choice"Well written, clearly organized, and comprehensive . . . the authors carefully walk the reader through the estimation of interpretation of coefficients from a wide variety of logistic regression models . . . their careful explication of the quantitative re-expression of coefficients from these various models is excellent."—Contemporary Sociology"An extremely well-written book that will certainly prove an invaluable acquisition to the practicing statistician who finds other literature on analysis of discrete data hard to follow or heavily theoretical."—The StatisticianIn this revised and updated edition of their popular book, David Hosmer and Stanley Lemeshow continue to provide an amazingly accessible introduction to the logistic regression model while incorporating advances of the last decade, including a variety of software packages for the analysis of data sets. Hosmer and Lemeshow extend the discussion from biostatistics and epidemiology to cutting-edge applications in data mining and machine learning, guiding readers step-by-step through the use of modeling techniques for dichotomous data in diverse fields. Ample new topics and expanded discussions of existing material are accompanied by a wealth of real-world examples-with extensive data sets available over the Internet.
Article
Objective To assess outcomes after oocyte vitrification on obstetric and perinatal outcomes compared with those achieved with fresh oocytes. Design Retrospective cohort study. Setting Private university-affiliated IVF center. Patient(s) Children born after use of vitrified oocytes (1,027 from 804 pregnancies) and fresh oocytes (1,224 from 996 pregnancies). Singleton and multiples pregnancies from own and donated ova were included. Intervention(s) Oocyte vitrification by the Cryotop method. Main Outcome Measure(s) Pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal outcomes. Result(s) Vitrification had no clinically relevant adverse effects on obstetric and perinatal outcomes after adjusting for potential confounders. No differences were found between the vitrified and fresh oocyte groups in the rate of obstetric problems (including diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm birth, anemia, and cholestasis), gestational age at delivery, birth weight, Apgar scores, birth defects, admission to neonatal intensive care unit (ICU), perinatal mortality, and puerperal problems. Only a greater number of invasive procedures (adjusted odds ratio 2.12; 95% confidence interval 1.41–3.20), and a reduced occurrence of urinary tract infection (adjusted odds ratio 0.51; 95% confidence interval 0.28–0.91), were observed in the vitrified oocytes group. Conclusion(s) Although our data, the largest series to date, suggest that oocyte vitrification does not increase adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes in children conceived with vitrified oocytes, further studies with larger samples are required to reinforce our conclusions.
Article
The overall incidence of clinically important (moderate to severe) OHSS ranges from 1% to 10% of IVF cycles, but only a small proportion (0.5% to 2%) of the cases are severe. In extreme but rare cases, secondary complications such as deep vein thrombosis, respiratory distress and acute hepato-renal failure may occur. The main risk factors are the presence of polycystic ovaries, high ovarian response to superovulation therapy, the use of hCG to trigger the ovulatory process or for luteal phase support, and the endogenous production of hCG by an early pregnancy. The pathogenesis of OHSS is unknown, although the predominant biochemical mediator is thought to be the renin-angiotensin system. Ovarian stimulation should always be carefully monitored to identify those women at risk. In IVF cycles, the hCG injection should be withheld if the risk is judged to be too great. Some women will benefit from a policy of proceeding to collect oocytes, but electively cryopreserving any resulting embryos, thus allowing the ovarian stimulation cycle not to be wasted. The administration of albumin at the time of oocyte collection will reduce the chance of severe OHSS occurring. If a decision is made to proceed with oocyte recovery and embryo transfer, it may be advisable to give 5000 IU of hCG, rather than 10,000 IU, as the ovulatory trigger. Progesterone, and not hCG, should be given in the luteal phase. Women developing mild or moderate OHSS should be kept under outpatient surveillance to detect the minority that may progress to severe OHSS. Those with severe OHSS should be hospitalised for fluid and electrolyte management. Paracentesis under ultrasound guidance is recommended where there are tense ascites, but further surgical intervention should rarely be undertaken and only when there is good clinical evidence of ovarian torsion or haemorrhage.
Article
The present study reports, as far as is known for the first time, the safety of UV sterilization of liquid nitrogen and hermetical cryostorage of human oocytes by comparing the efficiency of fresh and vitrified sibling oocytes of infertile patients. A prospective randomized study on sibling oocytes of 31 patients was carried out. Metaphase-II oocytes were randomized for intracytoplasmic sperm injection and the supernumerary sibling oocytes were vitrified using a novel Cryotop aseptic procedure (UV liquid nitrogen sterilization and hermetical cryostorage). After unsuccessful attempts with fresh oocytes, vitrified sibling oocytes were injected. Mean outcome measures observed were fertilization, cleavage and top-quality embryo rates. No significant differences were observed between the fresh and vitrified-warmed sibling oocytes: oocyte fertilization was 88.3% versus 84.9%; cleavage 72.6% versus 71.0%; top-quality embryos 33.8% versus 26.3% and mean number of transferred embryos 2.6 ± 0.1 versus 2.5 ± 0.1, respectively. Clinical pregnancy rate per cycle with vitrified-warmed oocytes was 35.5% (implantation rate 17.1%) and seven healthy babies were born. This study demonstrated that UV liquid nitrogen sterilization and hermetical cryostorage does not adversely affect the developmental competence of vitrified oocytes, allowing safe aseptic open vitrification applicable under strict directives on tissue manipulation.
Article
As oocyte and ovarian tissue cryopreservation techniques continue to improve [2, 3], there is a growing need to address the moral permissibility of what has been called ‘social’ egg freezing.1 Often used to preserve the fertility of cancer patients, egg freezing has recently gained popularity among women wishing to guard themselves against age-related infertility. Higher education, career advancement, an increased cost of living and difficulties finding a long-term partner are just some of the reasons why a number of women are having children at an older age [4, 5].
Article
Over the past decade, the number of reported live births resulting from oocyte cryopreservation has rapidly increased. To appreciate the true number of children born, verified live births were tabulated and assessed. A literature search was performed; authors were then contacted to verify birth outcomes and provide updates. A database including all verified live born infants was constructed. A total of 58 reports (1986-2008) were reviewed, which included 609 live born babies (308 from slow freezing, 289 from vitrification and 12 from both methods). Additionally, 327 other live births were verified. Of the total 936 live borns, 1.3% (12) were noted to have birth anomalies: three ventricular septal defects, one choanal and one biliary atresia, one Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, one Arnold-Chiari syndrome, one cleft palate, three clubfoot and one skin haemangioma. Compared with congenital anomalies occurring in naturally conceived infants, no difference was noted. With more live born data accumulating, this procedure may become mainstream as a fertility preservation option, particularly for women diagnosed with malignancy requiring cytotoxic therapy. A registry would help to assure the safest, most expeditious development of this technology.
Article
In this article I use literature from the medical and social sciences, as well as interviews with women and couples with fertility impairments, to argue against locating the compelling character of conceptive technology exclusively in pronatalist or patriarchal agendas. I suggest that the attraction to this technology derives not only from these broader cultural values but also from the way that the technology itself works (or does not work). Studying conceptive techniques helps illuminate why enough never seems to be enough for couples and physicians in pursuit of fertility.