Social Freezing: Reasons and Acceptance
It is not only the social acceptance of IVF that has changed considerably in recent years. Social freezing is also becoming increasingly relevant in society. According to a survey, 46% of women in Germany think it is a good solution.
Social Freezing: reasons and acceptance
Social Freezing, or: What do Michelle Obama and Kim Kardashian have in common?
The trend towards having children later in life has long since reached us. But while cultural and social realities have changed significantly in recent decades, our biological clock is still at the same level it was several thousand years ago. So what can we do to reconcile our life plans with our biological requirements?
The topic of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is less stigmatised today than it was a few decades ago. It certainly helps that more and more women are speaking publicly about their IVF experiences, from former First Lady Michelle Obama to celebrities like Kim Kardashian.
There is a clear trend among the general population to have children later. A study by the Federal Institute for Population Research shows: While in 1970 the average age of the mother at first birth in Germany was 24 years, in 2016 it was already around 31 years .
Attitudes towards social freezing have changed considerably
It is not only the social acceptance of IVF that has changed greatly in recent years. Social freezing is also becoming increasingly relevant in society.
According to a population survey conducted by the health insurance company IKK Classic in 2019, 46% of women in Germany consider social freezing to be a good solution. 34% of women would not use the method themselves, but can understand the decision in others. Only 20% of women reject social freezing in principle .
The cliché of social freezing as a career reason is not true
When American companies like Facebook and Google announced in May 2014 that they would pay for the social freezing treatments of their female employees, the news had a big impact in Germany as well. It was the beginning of a social debate: To what extent should young women be encouraged to put their careers before family planning, and to what extent is it permissible to help them do so medically?
Although there was a lot of media attention around the topic, most of the articles missed the real truth with their central thesis — social freezing is mainly something for career-oriented women. In a 2013 study, women were asked why they had their eggs frozen (multiple answers were possible). Contrary to the common assumption that social freezing is primarily done for career motives, only 24% of the respondents stated this as a reason. A significantly larger proportion of respondents, namely 88%, indicated that they currently did not have a suitable partner for having children. 15% gave financial reasons or named a too high burden as a reason for postponing the child wish .
Another motivation for social freezing that is often neglected: In certain cases, cancer patients have their eggs frozen before chemotherapy in order to have them fertilized in case they want to have children later. This variant is also called medical freezing.
Social freezing: success rates
What is the ideal age to freeze my eggs? This is an often asked question in the context of social freezing. A simplified answer would be that it is generally better to freeze at a younger age than at a later age. However, it is not quite that simple.
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1. Bundesinstitut für Bevölkerungsforschung (2018) — https://www.bib.bund.de/DE/Fakten/Fakt/F20-Alter-Muetter-bei-Erstgeburt-Deutschland-West-Ost-ab-1960.html
2. IKK Classic, Kinderwunschstudie (2019) — https://www.ikk-classic.de/dam/jcr:7954b949-9290–4e49-a3e07971a647938b/Ergebnisse%20Befragung%20Kinderwunsch%20Teil%20Eins.pdf
3. Hodes-Wertzet al., Fertility & Sterility (2013)