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Egg freezing: more women are putting motherhood on ice, but is it making us complacent about fertility?

冻卵——越来越多的女性暂时“冰存”孕育子女的计划, 但这会让我们感到心安吗?

By  Kellie Scott  
Updated      31 Jul 2017, 11:03pmMon

本文由凯莉 斯科特于2017年7月31日星期一晚11点03分发表



Photo:       Ange Anderson started thinking about freezing her eggs when she came out of a long-term relationship. (Supplied: Ange Anderson) 

图片:安吉 安德森在结束一段长期恋爱关系之后开始考虑冻卵。(图片由安吉 安德森提供)

At 32, Brisbane's Ange Anderson is painfully aware her fertility will soon start to rapidly decline.

来自布里斯本市的安吉安德森今年32岁了。 她痛苦而又清醒地意识到——用不了多久, 自己的生育能力就将快速衰退了。

But the Nova newsreader doesn't want to rush into having kids when she meets the right guy, so she is putting her babymakers on ice.

但是这位诺亚广播电台的新闻播报员并不打算在遇到真爱的时候十分仓促地去生孩子, 因此她打算把自己的生育能力暂时冰存下来。

Many like her are choosing to freeze their eggs, known as oocyte cryopreservation, to delay motherhood either to focus on their career, wait for the right partner or simply because they don't feel ready.

很多和她一样的女性现在都会选择用冻卵(又称为卵母细胞冷冻保存)的方式来延迟孕育的时间, 原因可能是为了忙事业, 等待适合自己的伴侣,甚至仅仅因为她们觉得自己还没有准备好。 

It's known as "social egg freezing", and it's on the rise.

这被称为“社会原因冻卵”。 这类女性的人数呈增长趋势。 

Others, sometimes as young as 12, have their eggs collected for medical reasons, such as before undergoing cancer treatment which can have a detrimental impact on female fertility.

还有一些女性, 有的年仅12岁, 也会接受取卵手术。这是因为她们需要采取有可能会伤害女性生殖能力的癌症治疗措施等医学原因。

But while egg freezing is giving women more reproductive choices, there are concerns its portrayal as an "insurance policy" is resulting in unintended childlessness when women become complacent about their declining fertility.

然而当冻卵为女性提供了更多生育选择的同时, 有人担忧这种被描绘成“保险措施”的技术会让女性对自己的生殖能力日渐衰退感到心安的同时, 可能会让她们面对意料之外的无子结局。 



Photo:       Ange Anderson's only baby so far is her furbaby. (Supplied: Ange Anderson)

图片:安吉 安德森现在唯一的宝宝是她的“毛孩子”(图片由安吉 安德森提供)

Anderson recently came out of a long-term relationship and was seeing a lot of media about the opportunity for women to freeze their eggs.


安德森最近结束了一段长期恋爱关系。 她看了很多探讨女性冻卵选择的媒体报道。

"When I turned 30, I always thought I'd have one or two kids by then because I've always been maternal," she said.
"I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to become a mum, so I thought freezing my eggs was worth investigating."

“我30岁的时候总觉得自己应该有一两个孩子了, 因为我一直都是个很有母性的女人,”她说:“我不想失去成为母亲的机会, 所以我觉得冻卵是值得投资的一件事。”

Anderson consulted with a clinic and underwent the necessary testing. Fortunately results showed she has a good "storage of eggs for her age", so she can wait a couple of years until taking the $10,000 plunge to harvest them.

安德森去了一家诊所做咨询,也做了必要的检查。 幸运的是,结果显示她在“这个年龄段的卵子储备数量”很不错, 所以她可以等几年再考虑要不要花一万澳元的费用去收集卵子。 

"If the results had of been different, I would have taken out a small loan to have it done now," she said.
Knowing she can freeze her eggs has taken the pressure off, allowing her to focus on meeting "the right guy" and travel more of the world before settling down.
"When going on dates I don't just want to think about his potential as a husband and father, but the qualities of the person," she said.
"There is so much more I want to do before becoming a parent."

“如果诊断结果不是这样的话, 我应该已经申请小额贷款现在就把手术做了,”她说。 在了解到她可以冷冻卵子之后, 便放下了压力, 这让她能集中精力去寻找合适的伴侣,也可以在安定下来之前去游览更多的世界。 

'It's only ever a backup'

“这只是备选方案”

Consultant Simone Campbell from the City Fertility Centre in Brisbane said many women visited the clinic purely to discuss their options.
She said the best age to start thinking about egg freezing was early 30s.

布里斯本城市生育中心的咨询师西蒙 坎布尔说很多来诊所咨询的女性只是单纯地想要了解她们有哪些选择。 她认为冻卵最好的年龄是三十出头。 

"Unfortunately a lot of the women who come and see me in their late 30s to discuss it — that's not the best time to freeze eggs," Dr Campbell said.
"If we can have people thinking about it earlier, they can at least assess the situation and make an informed decision."

“遗憾的是, 很多过来见我讨论这件事的女性已经在三十多岁的后期了——这已经不是冻卵的最佳年龄了,”坎贝尔博士说到, “如果我们能让人们早一点开始考虑, 至少他们能够评估自己的状况, 在掌握足够信息的情况下做出决定。”

Dr Campbell said success rates of conception using frozen eggs was under-researched, but collecting 20 healthy eggs from a 32-year-old may result in a 70 to 80 per cent chance of "taking home a baby".

坎贝尔博士说使用冻卵成功怀孕的几率还没有足够的研究来支持, 但是从一位32岁的女性身上采集20颗健康的卵子大概会有七八成机会让她“带回家一个宝宝”。 

"We need to see generations of people until we can really gauge that.

“我们需要对一代人进行观察才能真正做出评估。”

"It's only ever a backup ... if a woman freezes eggs at 32 and comes back at 37, we will try and use her fresh eggs first. 

“这从来都只是一种备选方案......如果女性在32岁时冻卵, 在37岁的时候回来, 我们会首先尝试用新鲜卵子让她怀孕。”

"It's a mini insurance policy that has no definite pay off at the end."

“这算是一个小小的保险措施, 但是到最后并不能保证成功。”

Dr Campbell said it was important for women to understand there were medical risks associated with the egg collection procedure.

坎贝尔博士说,女性了解取卵的过程中存在的风险是非常重要的。 

"It's a safe process, but we know that there is a risk of bleeding from ovaries [for example]."

“这种手术是安全的, 但是我们知道(比如说)的确存在卵巢出血的风险。”

Managing expectations

控制期望值

A 2016 study from University College London found the success rate of oocyte cryopreservation was now on par with IVF pregnancy rates.
But it said expectations around the likelihood of conceiving using frozen eggs was a concern.
"It is paramount that women receive the correct information about oocyte cryopreservation and its success rates, and do not accept it as an 'insurance policy' as it is often portrayed," the University College London study said.

2016年伦敦学院大学的一项研究表明, 卵母细胞冷冻保存的成功率现在和试管怀孕的成功率是一样的;但也指出人们对使用冻卵成功怀孕可能性的期望值让研究人员感到担忧。 研究表示:“让女性获得有关卵母冷冻保存手术以及成功率的正确信息是非常重要的, 她们不能把这项技术看成是外界常常描绘的‘保险措施’。”

"Further, the decision by companies such as Apple and Facebook to offer 'social egg freezing' to their employees, may lead to women feeling pressured to delay childbirth."
It also highlighted the need to calculate costs carefully.

“另外, 像苹果和脸书这样的公司向员工提供‘社会原因冻卵’的福利, 可能会让妇女感到有必要延后生产的压力。” 研究还着重讨论了仔细计算花费的需要。

A 2012 study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found if a woman were to freeze her eggs at age 25 and return to them at 40, it would be less cost-effective than undertaking assisted reproductive techniques at the age of 40 if difficulties conceiving were encountered.

西北大学菲恩伯格医学院在2012的一项研究发现,如果女性在25岁冷冻好卵子, 40岁的时候回来, 那么如果她有不孕的问题, 使用冻卵会比在40岁时采取辅助生殖措施所花的费用要少。

Perinatal Psychology director Bronwyn Leigh said women could manage their expectations by being informed.
"Women should be well informed by multiple sources, including fertility specialists, about the realities of conception at various ages and with frozen eggs," she said.

孕产心理学主任布朗尼雷认为女性应该通过了解足够的信息来调整好自己的心理预期。 “心理预期需要和现实相比较。现实中怀孕是一个复杂的过程,很多因素都会产生影响。”

"Expectations need to be compared with the reality that conception is a complex process with multiple factors at play."
Dr Leigh said fertility could not be taken for granted at any age.

雷博士说,无论年龄多大都不应该把生育能力看成是理所当然的一件事。 

"Maternal age, and the health of eggs, are key variables in trying to conceive, but that is not a complete picture."

“母体的年龄, 卵子的健康状况对怀孕的成功率起到关键作用, 然而这并不是整个画面的全部内容。”

But for Anderson, she will be waiting until her mid 30s to again weigh up her options.

而对于安德森来说, 她将会等到35岁左右再考虑自己的选择。 

"If I'm not fortunate [to have children], I have so many friends with babies that call me aunty, and my own niece and nephew ... I'll just have a farm of dogs instead," she laughed.

“如果我不幸(没有孩子)的话, 我有很多朋友的宝宝叫我阿姨, 我还有自己的侄子侄女......我会养满地的狗狗来代替孩子,”她笑着说。