The birds, the bees, and oocyte cryopreservation
This thesis explores the opinions of Obstetrician-gynecologists, Reproductive Endocrinologists, and senior college women surrounding a woman's decision to freeze her eggs. It draws on data collected through 20 in-depth interviews: 10 OBGYNs, 10 REIs, and 10 female college seniors at Tulane University. The object is to gain a deeper understanding of how different practitioners in women's health view egg freezing and their experiences with patients who considered oocyte cryopreservation as a realistic option to delay childbearing. It also aims to determine whether senior college women would consider freezing their eggs to prepare for demanding careers in sectors that remain unfriendly to working mothers. Chapters 1 and 2 contextualizes 20th century reproduction and details the history and advancement of egg freezing. It summarizes the existing literature, which includes the pros and cons to the procedure and sociodemographic factors that affect access to egg banking. Chapter 3 outlines the investigator's data collection method of in-depth interviews. Chapter 4 categorizes the findings for medical professionals based on opinions on egg freezing, risks associated with the procedure, financial barriers, women's motivations for egg freezing, use of stored eggs, and work/family issues for women. For senior college women, interviews were categorized based on opinions on egg freezing, future career plans, egg freezing in the media, and work/family issues and egg freezing. Overall, medical professionals had similar views on egg freezing. However, OBs tended to take a more cautionary approach towards the procedure than REIs. Senior college women reported feeling nervous about their future as a mother and career professional and viewed egg freezing as a temporary solution to combat society's lack of institutional support for working mothers.