Science Current Events | Science News |

What does delaying childbearing cost?

March 15, 2012

Freezing eggs or ovarian tissue for the sole purpose of delaying childbearing for social reasons may prove too costly for society, according to a recent analysis by a University of Illinois at Chicago researcher.

Fertility preservation -- freezing eggs or ovarian tissue -- was originally intended for women undergoing medical treatments that could affect their fertility.

But now, fertility centers around the country are offering these technologies to women who are not undergoing treatment, but who are "trying to create a backup plan for delaying pregnancy," says Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UIC and lead author of the study, published in the March issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Using decision-analysis techniques, the researchers compared the cost-per-live-birth for three alternative strategies a 25-year-old woman might use if she wants to delay childbearing until age 40.

Those scenarios included doing nothing (no cryopreservation), freezing eggs, or freezing ovarian tissue. The cost of each technique was based on published data.

"We found, in order to create one additional live birth with the mechanisms of freezing either ovarian tissue or freezing eggs, it would cost society an additional $130,000," said Hirshfeld-Cytron, director of the fertility preservation program at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System.

In the statistical model, women at age 40 would attempt natural conception for six months before using assisted reproductive technology. After trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant on her own, the woman would either receive the standard of care (in vitro fertilization), or she would utilize either the frozen ovarian tissue or frozen eggs.

The analysis showed that freezing eggs was less expensive than freezing ovarian tissue, and doing nothing was the most cost-effective.

"In any scenario where a woman has undergone a procedure to freeze eggs or part of her ovaries for future use, and then she changes her mind, that is tissue that is never used," Hirshfeld-Cytron said. "The cost estimates in our study are actually very conservative."

Like all medical specialties, obstetrics and gynecology sometimes "can be victim to the tyranny of technology," Hirshfeld-Cytron said. Clinicians get excited about new options and offer them to a wider range of patients.

"Whether or not this is cost-effective is something that needs to be talked about and potentially decided as a society," said Hirshfeld-Cytron.

"It's also possible to argue that we could perhaps avoid these costs by providing an environment for young women that fosters career development and family-building at the same time," she said.

Co-authors are Dr. William Grobman and Dr. Magdy Milad of Northwestern University.


An extended interview as MP3 audio file is available at

For more information about the University of Illinois Hospital, visit

University of Illinois at Chicago

Related Ovarian Tissue Current Events and Ovarian Tissue News Articles

Researchers use ovarian follicles to preserve fertility
Researchers at the University of Michigan have identified a potential new approach to fertility preservation for young cancer patients that addresses concerns about beginning cancer treatment immediately and the possibility of reintroducing cancer cells during the fertility preservation process.

First live birth after transplantation of ovarian tissue frozen during childhood
A young woman has become the first in the world to give birth to a healthy child after doctors restored her fertility by transplanting ovarian tissue that had been removed and frozen while she was a child.

Guidelines can predict early menopause in child cancer survivors
Girls with cancer who are most likely to become infertile after treatment can be identified using guidelines developed almost 20 years ago, new research shows.

Jamming a protein signal forces cancer cells to devour themselves
Under stress from chemotherapy or radiation, some cancer cells dodge death by consuming a bit of themselves, allowing them to essentially sleep through treatment and later awaken as tougher, resistant disease.

A newly discovered hormone makes ovaries grow
A newly discovered hormone produced by the eggs of human females may improve the effectiveness of current fertility treatments for women and possibly lead to entirely new treatments altogether.

Researchers build functional ovarian tissue in lab
A proof-of-concept study suggests the possibility of engineering artificial ovaries in the lab to provide a more natural option for hormone replacement therapy for women.

New chemo drug gentler on fertility, tougher on cancer
A new gentler chemotherapy drug in the form of nanoparticles has been designed by Northwestern Medicine® scientists to be less toxic to a young woman's fertility but extra tough on cancer.

New IVF breakthrough
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have discovered that a chemical can trigger the maturation of small eggs to healthy, mature eggs, a process that could give more women the chance of successful IVF treatment in the future.

Mass. General researchers isolate egg-producing stem cells from adult human ovaries
For the first time, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers have isolated egg-producing stem cells from the ovaries of reproductive age women and shown these cells can produce what appear to be normal egg cells or oocytes.

Birth after cancer treatment with removal and storage of ovary
For the first time in Germany, a woman has given birth to a child after removal and preservation of tissue from one of her ovaries.
More Ovarian Tissue Current Events and Ovarian Tissue News Articles

In Vitro Fertilization: A Comprehensive Guide

In Vitro Fertilization: A Comprehensive Guide
by Elizabeth S. Ginsburg (Editor), Catherine Racowsky (Editor)

In Vitro Fertilization: A Comprehensive Guide represents the next frontier in the integrated clinical and laboratory practice of ART.  Uniquely balanced, the book provides the necessary understanding of the key laboratory techniques involved in ART and the complex aspects of clinical care.  Featuring the contributions of world leaders in the field, the guide begins with the evaluation of the infertile woman and man.  It then moves on to discuss treatment protocols and adjunctive treatments.  Techniques for oocyte retrieval, insemination, and culture, and embryo transfer and cryopreservation are explored in detail.  This comprehensive book covers all aspects of IVF and includes special sections on oocyte and embryo donation as well as gestational carriers, making it ideal for...

Ovarian Cancer Journeys: Survivors Share Their Stories To Help Others

Ovarian Cancer Journeys: Survivors Share Their Stories To Help Others
by Ayala Miron (Author)

All of the research has reinforced that ovarian cancer is not a silent disease as was once thought and as is shown quite eloquently in this collection of stories . The value of this collection of stories is that it helps raise awareness about symptoms, need for patient persistence, and the importance of being treated by a gynecologic oncologist.Barbara A. Goff, MDProfessor and Co-Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology University of Washington School of MedicineWomen of ages 17 to 78 join to tell their true stories.Find out about the lessons they have learned along their ovarian cancer journeys; from symptoms to diagnosis, trough treatments, and survival.Ovarian cancer facts:Occurs in 1 out of 57 women89% have symptoms at the early stages of the disease75% are diagnosed in the late...

Vitrification in Assisted Reproduction: A User's Manual

Vitrification in Assisted Reproduction: A User's Manual
by Gautam N. Allahbadia (Editor), Masashige Kuwayama (Editor), Goral Gandhi (Editor)

Advances in technology now offer promising solutions to deal with the chronological aging of the cell, tissue or organ to synchronize its existence and its use. This book covers the developments in and benefits of the latest vitrification technology and its extensive applications in reproductive medicine. Protocols of gametes (oocyte and sperm), embryos, blastocysts and ovarian tissue cryopreservation have been reviewed by leaders in the field. In order to address the escalation in cross-border reproductive tourism entailing the transfer of reproductive cells and tissues rather than the patient, the challenges, caution and emerging possibilities of nitrogen vapor shipment of vitrified cells have been discussed. Current perspectives on oocyte banking present the reader with options...

Human Fertility: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology)

Human Fertility: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology)
by Zev Rosenwaks (Editor), Paul M. Wassarman (Editor)

Human Fertility: Methods and Protocols is intended for all practitioners of reproductive medicine and ART, as well as for embryologists and reproductive, developmental, cell and molecular biologists and others in the biomedical sciences. The volume presents straight-forward manner best practice approaches for overcoming a host of fertility challenges. Written in the highly successful Methods in Molecular Biology series format, chapters include introductions to their respective topics, lists of the necessary materials and reagents, step-by-step, readily reproducible laboratory protocols and tips on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls.Authoritative and cutting-edge, Human Fertility: Methods and Protocols aids scientists in continuing to study assisted reproductive...

Treatment of Cancer Sixth Edition

Treatment of Cancer Sixth Edition
by Pat Price (Editor), Karol Sikora (Editor)

Treatment of Cancer, Sixth Edition is a multi-authored work based on a single theme―the optimal treatment of cancer. A comprehensive guide to modern cancer treatment, it supports an integrated approach to patient care including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. The sixth edition has been completely updated to create a useful, practical guide focused on the management of individual tumour types. The characteristic didactic approach to patient care of previous editions is retained, but now with greater consideration to the options available. This book is a valuable resource for trainees, oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, and haematologists.

Endocrine Emergencies: Recognition and Treatment (Contemporary Endocrinology)

Endocrine Emergencies: Recognition and Treatment (Contemporary Endocrinology)
by Lynn Loriaux (Editor)

Developed by renowned experts, this comprehensive and easy to read title offers a state-of-the-art description of the management of endocrine, diabetic, and metabolic emergencies and brings the field fully up to date, setting a high standard for diagnosis and treatment in each category. All chapters begin with a summary that presents, in concentrated form, what the physician needs to know to begin the evaluation and emergency treatment of the known endocrine emergencies. This is followed by an extended discussion of the pathophysiology that can be read after initial treatment has begun. Covering such areas as hypoglycemia, acute adrenal insufficiency, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, thyroid storm, and pituitary apoplexy, just to name several, Endocrine Emergencies: Recognition and...

Endometriosis: A Comprehensive Update (SpringerBriefs in Reproductive Biology)

Endometriosis: A Comprehensive Update (SpringerBriefs in Reproductive Biology)
by Sajal Gupta (Author), Avi Harlev (Author), Ashok Agarwal (Author)

This SpringerBrief provides an update on endometriosis research -- from the underlying mechanisms, predisposing factors, role of environmental pollutants, treatment options, impact on quality of life, and biomarkers, to emerging treatment modalities in order to help clinicians to pursue a patient-centered approach in managing the disease. This book provides clinicians with a better insight into early diagnosis and management of endometriosis. It explores the possible identification of proteins in different types of endometriosis diseases and at different stages of the progression.  This may aid in the discovery of potential biomarkers for non-invasive diagnosis of these diseases. The ability to identify a protein, common between women of different races, ages and in different regions of...

The Fate of Ovarian Tissues when Planted on different Organs

The Fate of Ovarian Tissues when Planted on different Organs
by Charles R. Stockard (Author)

Vitrification in Assisted Reproduction: A User's Manual

Vitrification in Assisted Reproduction: A User's Manual
by Gautam N. Allahbadia (Editor), Masashige Kuwayama (Editor), Goral Gandhi (Editor)

This book covers the latest developments and benefits of vitrification technology and its extensive applications in reproductive medicine, discussing protocols of gametes (oocyte and sperm), embryos, blastocysts and ovarian tissue, and many other topics.

© 2016