The number of women in the UK freezing their eggs or embryos has risen by 523 per cent between 2013 and 2018, a new report has found.
Data provided by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) shows that where 1,500 women in Britain froze their eggs or embryos in 2013, just under 9,000 opted for the same fertility treatment in 2018.
Dr Helen Watt, Senior Research Fellow at the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, criticised the trend, telling the Catholic Herald: “Techniques like IVF are depersonalised, mechanical forms of conception that bypass sex and encourage a mindset in which embryos are treated like manufactured products.”
She warned of the dangers of egg freezing and similar techniques, saying “the IVF industry battens on the desires of childless people while at the same time offering routine destruction of ‘surplus’ or ‘substandard’ embryos.”
“Society should make it easier for people to marry earlier and try for a baby at a time when the woman is more fertile,” Dr Watt added.
Professor Stephen Bullivant, sociologist at St Mary’s University, also scrutinised the figures. “It’s worth stressing that whilst the percentage increase is 532, these are small numbers,” he said. “The numbers in 2013 really are very small, but it’s a worrying trend.”
The HFEA report also showed that in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is now three times more successful than it was two decades ago, with up to one third of embryo transfers in women under 35 resulting in a baby.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.