Family physicians have an important role in advising women about the benefits and risks of egg freezing, argues an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
"With growing public awareness of social egg freezing, Canadian women may increasingly approach physicians in search of information and advice about the procedure," writes Dr. Angel Petropanagos, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, with coauthors Alana Cattapan, Françoise Baylis and Arthur Leader. "Family physicians are uniquely positioned at the front lines of medical care to provide information to women who ask about egg freezing."
In October 2014, the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society endorsed egg freezing as an option for women wanting to preserve their future fertility, in contrast with the United States, where both the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology cautioned against the practice.
Although egg freezing can help some women preserve their fertility as they age, evidence is limited on the success rates for pregnancy and live birth using thawed eggs.
Egg freezing is expensive, with costs estimated between $5000 and $10 000 and yearly storage fees of $300 to $500. Provincial health care plans do not cover social egg freezing costs.
"In light of the controversial nature of social egg freezing, with competing perspectives and information available from a variety of sources, family physicians have a unique opportunity to assist women in accessing accurate and balanced information about their reproductive health. This information should be provided to all women who ask about social egg freezing, regardless of sexual orientation, age, disability, health, relationship or socioeconomic status," the authors conclude.