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Women in their late 30s are freezing eggs because they are still hunting for ‘Mr Right’, according to new research.

The clock may also be ticking for the many Bridget Jones types who are putting their career ahead of plans to have children, according to a separate study.

The research into women at a Belgian clinic found half wanted to freeze their eggs to take the pressure off finding a partner, a fertility conference heard. A third were also having eggs frozen as an “insurance policy” against infertility.

Many students would also consider the procedure to focus on a career before motherhood, a separate UK survey found.

The study of nearly 200 medical students showed eight in 10 would freeze their eggs to delay starting a family.

Among sports and education students, half said they would consider it. Egg freezing is still a relatively new technology, enabling a woman to save eggs for future IVF treatment if needed. The chance of success is better with younger, healthier eggs, yet most women currently choosing the procedure are in their late 30s and opting for egg freezing as a “last resort”.

Age has an impact on male as well as female fertility and when they do meet Mr Right, women may well find that he has fertility problems, the study said. The average cost of egg freezing is around €3,700 per attempt and some women may have to undergo up to three cycles to preserve a good number of eggs.

Speaking at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Rome, Dr Julie Nekkebroeck, who carried out the small Belgian study of 15 women, said they also found that 27pc wanted to give their relationship a chance to blossom before bringing up the subject of having a baby.

The women who had an average of 38 said they did not expect to use their frozen eggs until they were around 43, but they realised they needed to undergo the procedure while they were still healthy and fertile.

Dr Srilatha Gorthi from the Leeds Centre for Reproductive Medicine, who presented the UK study at the same conference, said the medical students gave career reasons as the most common reason for considering egg collection while the other students were more concerned about financial stability.

And she added that society needs to better support young women in having a family when they are ready without compromising their careers.

Source: Irish Independent

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