This text comes from the family newsletter of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. You can subscribe here.
do you remember “Social Freezing”? With this term, a debate swept across the Atlantic not quite ten years ago, started by the Silicon Valley giants Apple and Facebook. The two companies announced in 2014 that they would support employees who want to freeze their eggs with up to $20,000.
What a din that was!
Some believed that this technology would finally make gender equality a reality. The others feared that women would put off starting a family too long for the sake of their careers. Facts tended to go unnoticed – such as the fact that frozen egg cells are by no means a guarantee of having a child at some point. Or surveys, according to which women are primarily interested in it because they have not yet found the right partner. In general, the women affected had little to say – also because there were hardly any.
At that time I wrote several texts on the subject and tried to find out how big the phenomenon of “social freezing” actually was. My calls to fertility centers revealed: Egg freezing for non-medical reasons – in 2014 it was more of a topic of debate than an actual common practice, more of a buzzword than an established medical method. Most women who underwent the procedure did so because they were about to undergo chemotherapy.
As I said, that was almost ten years ago. A lot has changed since then, as my colleague Helena Ott describes in this text. In it, she quotes fertility doctors, who now advise women every day who want to buy themselves time by freezing eggs. Women who are thinking about it or who have recently decided to have the treatment also have their say in the text.
Since then I’ve been thinking about what happened to all those who, for personal reasons, decided several years ago to freeze their eggs. Do you have children now? Are the cells still on ice? Or have you given up your desire to have children?
If you have a story to tell (also anonymously, please): Write to me! And if you have a friend, sister or acquaintance who has had egg freezing experience: please forward this appeal to them.
I would be very happy to be able to write a text about what happened in Germany after the debate specter Social freezing passed – and what decisions women have made for themselves since then.
Looking forward to your emails