Purpose: What are the specific pathways that lead women to freeze their eggs? In this binational study, women were asked directly about the life circumstances that led them on the path to elective egg freezing (EEF). Methods: From June 2014 to August 2016, 150 women (114 in the USA, 36 in Israel) who had completed at least 1 cycle of EEF were interviewed by two medical anthropologists. Study participants were recruited through four American IVF clinics (two academic, two private) and three in Israel (one academic, two private). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and entered into a qualitative data management program (Dedoose) for analysis. Results: The majority (85%) of women in the study were without partners, while 15% had partners at the time of EEF. Six pathways to EEF were found among women without partners (being single, divorced, broken up, deployed overseas, single mother, career planner), with career planning being the least common pathway to EEF. Among women with partners, four pathways to EEF were found (relationship too new or uncertain, partner not ready to have children, partner refusing to have children, or partner having multiple partners). With only one exception, the pathways and their frequencies were similar in both countries. Conclusions: Partnership problems, not career planning, lead most women on pathways to EEF. These pathways should be studied in a variety of national settings, and fertility clinics should offer patient-centered care for single women pursuing EEF in the couples-oriented world of IVF.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding This study was funded by the US National Science Foundation, BCS-1356136.
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- Fertility preservation
- Oocyte cryopreservation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Developmental Biology