|Chinese film actress and director Xu Jinglei [Xinhua]|
There has been a spurt in the number of women seeking advice on egg freezing ever since a 41-year-old Chinese film actress and director Xu Jinglei said that she had stored nine eggs in the United States so that she can have a child in the future.
"The only thing I regret is that I'm a little late (in storing eggs)," Xu told Vista Story, a news magazine. Xu said she did not feel much discomfort during the entire process, and had advised her friends to store eggs.
"I have had people consult me about egg storage before, but, lately, there have been too many of them," said Dr Sun Xiaoxi from the Gynecology and Obstetrics Hospital of Fudan University.
In the Chinese mainland, while sperm banks are legal, egg banks are not.
Previously, only infertile couples who received in-vitro fertilization could store the eggs if the husband could not donate sperms. In 2013, Shanghai health authorities started to allow cancer patients — who did not violate the family planning law — to secure their eggs before they were exposed to chemotherapy and radiation. Single women are not allowed to store eggs.
"The whole procedure of egg retrieval and storage are not as simple and safe as people think," Dr Sun said. "Women have to take medicines for egg stimulation and undergo a minimally invasive surgery for egg retrieval. There is always a possibility for infection, bleeding and injury to the ovary function."
Eggs are put in chemicals for dehydration and then stored in liquid nitrogen at minus 196 degree Celsius. "Only 70 to 80 percent of frozen eggs can be restored for fertilization, much lower than the 95 percent of frozen embryo," he said. "Compared to fresh eggs, frozen eggs have a much lower success rate (of forming embryos). I would suggest that healthy women have children rather than store eggs as 'insurance policy.'"
(Source: Shanghai Daily)
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