Will young women put their eggs on ice?

In Britain, fertility clinics are gearing up to cater to the "have it all" generation.

Published January 6, 2006 3:38PM (EST)

The Guardian has this report today on fertility clinics in the U.K. preparing to extend their services to "have it all" couples. Meaning, before too long, fertility treatment isn't going to be just for people struggling to conceive. Rather, as busy couples and single women continue to delay having children, fertility clinics will help them by preserving eggs -- and sperm -- from young men and women for use at a later date. No doubt clinics are hoping to tap into a burgeoning market.

"The great problem we've got now is you can't have your cake and eat it," Dr. Simon Fishel, director of the CARE Fertility Center at the Park Hospital in Nottingham, told the Guardian. "What's going to happen, and we're going to make it happen, is that a lot of people will start using IVF who don't have a fertility problem. It will take a few years to come about, but that paradigm shift will happen."

However, Virginia Bolton, a consulting embryologist at the assisted-conception unit at Guy's Hospital in London, says not so fast. She told the Guardian it will take a real shift in young women's thinking before such a practice becomes widespread and popular. "People don't start really thinking about it in their 20s because then, the world's your oyster. But society may well change. We may take it as given that we put our eggs on ice," she said.

By Hillary Frey

Hillary Frey is the Books editor at Salon.

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