International market in frozen eggs now a possibility

Michael Cook
27 Oct 2012
Reproduced with Permission

Egg freezing is no longer regarded as an experimental procedure, says the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). In young patients egg freezing techniques have been shown to produce pregnancy rates, leading to the birth of healthy babies, comparable to IVF cycles using fresh eggs.

However, the picture is still not completely clear. The ASRM says that egg freezing could be beneficial for women who are infertile after treatments for other diseases and some genetic conditions. It stresses that career women who want to delay child-bearing should not rely upon egg-freezing as fertility insurance. "We cannot at this time endorse its widespread elective use to delay childbearing. This technology may not be appropriate for the older woman who desires to postpone reproduction," said a spokeswoman.

One possibility, clearly, of this increasingly successful technique is creating a market in eggs, similar to what already exists in frozen sperm. The Danish company Cryos International, for instance, has sperm banks in Denmark, India and New York.

Stephen Page, an Australian lawyer specialising in surrogacy, recently told ABC Radio that some of India's 3000 IVF clinics are already importing eggs of fair-skinned women:

"In India one of the extraordinary developments has been agencies that have developed in the former USSR, so places like Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, where you have donors, egg donors, and they provide their eggs, which are then shipped to India, and so westerners such as from Australia, Europe, et cetera, are able to go there and have a Caucasian child."