Elective egg freezing and male support: a qualitative study of men’s roles in women’s fertility preservation

Marcia C. Inhorn, Daphna Birenbaum-Carmeli, Pasquale Patrizio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How do men participate in women’s fertility preservation decisions and procedures? This binational, qualitative study assessed whether men play supportive roles either before, during or after women’s elective egg freezing (EEF) cycles. From June 2014 to August 2016, 150 women (114 in the USA and 36 in Israel) who had completed at least one cycle of EEF were interviewed by two medical anthropologists, one in each country. The majority (85%) of women in the study identified the lack of a male partner as their main reason for pursuing EEF. However, nearly two-thirds (63%) of women relied on some form of male support during their EEF decision making processes and procedures. Five categories of men, in order of support, included: (i) fathers (or other male father figures), (ii) male partners (past or present), (iii) male friends, (iv) brothers and (v) male judges (some of whom supported EEF in divorce settlements). More than a dozen different forms of assistance were offered by men in four major categories: (i) instrumental, (ii) financial, (iii) physical and (iv) psychological. Although one-third (37%) of women went through EEF alone or with only female support, this study reveals the ‘hidden’ roles men play in supporting the reproductive aspirations of women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Fertility
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by US National Science Foundation [BCS-1356136]. The authors thank Jennifer DeChello, Jeannine Estrada, Sandee Murray, Tasha Newsome, Mira Vale and Ruoxi Yu for various forms of editorial, research, study recruitment and transcription assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The British Fertility Society.


  • Israel
  • Oocyte cryopreservation
  • USA
  • elective egg freezing
  • fertility preservation
  • men in reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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