Women have their say about the subsidisation of egg freezing

Molly Johnston
Dr Molly Johnston

A study by PhD student Dr Molly Johnston could be key to a renewed discussion about the future of egg freezing and its costs.

Egg freezing is a very expensive process with each cycle costing up to $10,000. Currently, egg freezing is only subsidised by Medicare when a woman has a medical condition that affects her fertility.

Of the 656 Victorian Women surveyed, more than two-thirds believe women who choose to freeze their eggs without a medical reason are entitled to financial support.

An article in The Guardian refers to Dr Johnston’s study who said egg freezing is not only applicable to women who are driven and focused on their careers.

“It’s people who want to have children but their personal circumstances are not aligning with that right now.”

In fact, all women undergo egg freezing for the same reason, to try and combat future childlessness. Access to Medicare rebates could determine the future of a woman’s life whether that be with or without children.

There has been an uptake in egg freezing in Australia and New Zealand. From 2010 to 2018 the number of cycles yearly rose by an estimated 860%. Further research on the matter including Dr Johnston’s study brings hope for a new wave of empathy towards women who have various reasons for freezing their eggs.

Dr Johnston, a PhD student in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology told The Guardian, “It really does challenge the current distinction we’re using. That is, whether having a medical indication or not is a justified means to allocate public funding”.

Regardless of the reason for wanting such a procedure, all women are under pressure due to their biological clock. This is a strong indication of just how important subsidisation is with widespread support among women already increasing in Australia.

Molly Johnston, Giuliana Fuscaldo, Stella May Gwini, Sally Catt, Nadine Maree Richings.  Financing future fertility: Women’s views on funding egg freezing DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rbms.2021.07.001

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