What is the need to freeze

Wanting to have children postponed: freezing egg cells?

Risks of social freezing

The vision of the absolutely feasible: It also harbors dangers for women. "In order to be able to obtain enough egg cells, the woman must be treated with hormones," says Breitbach. The egg cells are then removed through the vagina under short anesthesia and frozen in liquid nitrogen. "The hormone treatment can lead to a so-called overstimulation syndrome in women," warns the reproductive medicine specialist. Then the ovaries enlarge and fluid collects in the abdomen. The consequences are, among other things, pain and nausea.

In addition: "Women often do not decide to have their egg cells removed until they are in their late 30s. Then it is often too late for a sufficiently high probability of success to justify the effort involved in the treatment," explains Breitbach. The quality of the egg cells decreases in the course of a lifetime - and with it the chance of a baby. "Egg cells from very young women are best; the limit is around 35 years old." But who thinks of family planning when they are in their early 20s? "How high the probability is of having a baby from frozen egg cells by means of artificial insemination: There are still no meaningful studies on this," said Breitbach.

Keeping the best interests of the child in mind

Theoretically, pregnancy would be possible indefinitely. There is no expiration date for frozen eggs. This is a problem for medical ethicist Nobert Paul. "Of course women have the right to freedom of choice and reproductive self-determination. But it's also about the child's well-being," he says. "You should honestly ask yourself: Can I still accompany the child until they can take their own life into their hands?" For him, the new possibilities mean above all: "Future parents also need a greater sense of responsibility, not only for the aspects of biological, but also for social parenting." He therefore advocates an age limit for all forms of artificial insemination from 45 to a maximum of 50 years. Incidentally, this should apply to both women and men.

Social ethicist Hartmut KreƟ emphasizes the health risks of late pregnancy: "The risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure is increasing." There is also the possibility that such pregnancies could damage the health of the hoped-for children.

Do frozen egg cells change the partnership?

According to medical ethicist Paul, social freezing could also change the view of the partnership. "There is no longer a need to be or stay with an opposite-sex partner just to have a child with them." Perhaps the focus is even shifting to children: in the future, they will be viewed more as the result of a manufacturing process and no longer as a random gift. "Here, too," says Paul, "we're getting more and more into a predictability hype." But "not everything that is possible always makes sense".