Commercialisation of IVF is crossing new frontiers in New York with “egg freezing parties” for career women who want to keep their options open. A company called EggBanxx will retrieve and store eggs – for about US$7,000 to $8000 per cycle. The first year of freezing is free. Here’s the pitch:
“EggBanxx is the affordable egg freezing solution created by women for women. We believe egg freezing should be easy, affordable and stress-free! Through EggBanxx, women can preserve their fertility by freezing their eggs for later use at a fraction of the cost and at a reputable clinic. This elective procedure is becoming increasingly popular today with women who are holding off having children while furthering their education or career, or waiting to meet the right partner.”
To promote its product, EggBanxx is organising “Let’s Chill” (what else could it be called?) parties in New York to discover how it works and how much it costs. The first one took place at the NoMad Hotel in Manhattan on August 12.
“I don’t have a significant other . . . but I hope to one day and have kids,” one woman told the New York Post. “I want to take my fertility into my own hands, rather than put pressure on the person I have my next relationship with. I don’t want to be in the position when I’m in my late 30s and panicking because I haven’t found the right man and I’d compromise and take anyone off the street!”
Or as EggBanxx’s marketing director described her own egg-freezing experience, “The pressure is off, and I feel so empowered. I can now concentrate on my career and becoming who I want to be before having children!”
So how does EggBanxx make its money? It acts as a broker for egg retrieval by its network of IVF clinics around the US and for low-cost finance. It also offers a 15% discount on what IVF clinics charge for the procedures and medications.
All over the world, fertility experts warn women that their fertility is finite, that after 35 it drops sharply and that it is best to have children early. But freezing cannot guarantee a baby, especially since most women who freeze their eggs have entered an era of declining fertility. According to a survey by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the average age at which women freeze eggs is 34 – already late.
Lord Robert Winston, a British IVF pioneer, argues that egg freezing is “a confidence trick” that allows avaracious IVF clinics to exploit the fears of desperate women. “Women are spending vast amount of money on this treatment but the success rates simply aren’t there. In fact less than 10% of the women who do it end up getting pregnant,” he says.