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Controversial Egg-freezing Gains Rising Attention in China
   2015-08-03 09:20:00    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Yu Yang

Chinese actress Xu Jinglei recently makes public that she has had some of her eggs frozen. [Photo: O.CN]

A controversial new technology is said to be bringing new hope to the growing number of women in China who miss out on the optimal age to conceive a child.

However, some gynecologists say the new process is not as optimal as some had hoped.

CRI's Qi Zhi reports.

 

Oocyte cryopreservation, or egg freezing, is a procedure where a woman's ovum are removed, frozen and placed in long-term storage.

When the woman is ready to become pregnant, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized and transferred into her uterus.

The technology is gaining increasing popularity in China, which is seeing a growing number of women, known in Mandarin as "Shengnv," choose instead to focus on their careers and put off starting a family until after the age of 27.

Qiao Jie is the head of Peking University Third Hospital that is leading the egg-freezing research in the country.

"There is no official stats on how many babies are born through the procedure in China every year, but the number is gradually increasing. We have conducted more operations every year than before and the total number in hospital has exceeded 300."

The technology has been gaining increased attention after popular Chinese actress Xu Jinglei made public that she's had some of her eggs frozen.

But while she's decided to consider that option for a later-life pregnancy, the procedure still has its skeptics among women in China.

"I may choose it if necessary. The quality of eggs will decline as age grows. So I would undergo the operation for the sake of my child's health."

"I don't think it's a reliable way. There is no doubt that the natural fertilization is much better."

Rumours have been circulating in China that undergoing he procedure may bring on early menopause.

Gynocologist Doctor Qiao Jie says there is no truth to that rumor.

However, she notes the success rate of the operation is less than 30-percent.

She also says patients who want to undergo the procedure do it as early as possible.

"The success rate depends heavily on the quality of oocyte. The quality of oocyte varies a lot according to one's age. Generally speaking, the younger, the better."

There are also questions about the potential health of a child born through a frozen embryo.

Doctor Qiao says they've yet to find any proof that this could be a concern.

However, she notes the procedure is still in its early stages in China.

"It seems safe at present. But the technology is still young and has only been applied to a limited number of people. We need more time to observe the side effects of the procedure."

Since its development some 30-years ago, around 24-hundred children have been born via this procedure around the globe.

China's first frozen-egg birth took place 11-years ago.

Under the current rules in China, both single and married women can have their eggs frozen.

However, only married women with the proper birth permits are allowed to use the eggs.

For CRI, I'm Qi Zhi.

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