Can We Freeze Our Biological Clocks?

November 18th, 2010

As detailed in a recent article, recent news out of this year’s ASRM Meeting may have a profound impact on families affected by infertility. The article discussed fertility specialist, Sherman Silber’s, discussion of a new technique that he thinks can essentially stop the biological clock.

Silber told his colleagues at the conference that this technique of banking ovarian tissue from otherwise healthy young women who are simply not ready to have children yet should be widespread. He explained that a 25-year-old woman who stores tissue can have thousands of 25-year-old eggs ready to be transplanted down the road when she might be infertile due to age. Whether that's in 10 or 20 years is up to her. The article goes on to describe Silber’s belief that freezing ovaries for social reasons will eventually become as acceptable as the once-controversial in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques are today.

Other industry sources are holding off putting their full weight behind this approach, as there haven’t been nearly enough procedures performed or babies born to legitimately endorse the technique. Art Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania is quoted as saying, "It's not ready for prime time. He's not wrong that someday women may want to consider some kind of biological insurance, but right now it's extremely experimental.”

Many said the same of IVF years ago and since its become an industry standard. More importantly, as a long-time proponent of a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices, I always appreciate the possibility of another option. It may be too early to know exactly how this technique might impact the fertility industry, women or even our society but its continued advancement undoubtedly will.

What do you think about this type of “insurance?” Would you consider (or would you have considered) banking your ovarian tissue? Would love to hear your thoughts...