This study aimed to explore the characteristics and circumstances of women who cryopreserved their oocytes for non-medical indications and their reasons for cryopreservation.
Oocyte cryopreservation for non-medical reasons is becoming increasingly common. Little is known about women who freeze their oocytes in this context.
All women who had cryopreserved oocytes for non-medical indications at a large Australian fertility treatment centre from 1999 to 2014 were invited to complete an anonymous postal survey.
Of the 193 questionnaires mailed, 10 were returned to sender; 96/183 (53%) were completed and returned. Most respondents had completed tertiary education (90%) and were employed in professional occupations (89%). At the time of oocyte cryopreservation, 48% of women were aged at least 38 years (range 28-44 years). Most (90%) women were single when their oocytes were frozen. The lack of a partner or having a partner unwilling to commit to fatherhood were the most common reasons for oocyte freezing, which was viewed as an investment in hope against the possibility of remaining in these predicaments. Some women reported that discussions in the media and interactions with peers influenced their decisions. A few women were influenced by tests indicating a low ovarian reserve.
These data provide new evidence about women's characteristics, circumstances, and reasons for oocyte cryopreservation for non-medical indications that do not support pejorative conceptualisations of these women as selfish and hedonistic.