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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Freezing the biological clock : the experience of undergoing social egg freezing for delayed childbearing Isaacson, Jordanna


Recent years have seen growing trends toward delayed childbearing and the increasing use of assisted reproductive technologies. In 2012, egg freezing was made available as an elective procedure for healthy reproductive age women to attempt to preserve their fertility. As more women delay childbearing and pursue social egg freezing, it is important to improve our understanding of this phenomenon. To date, limited research has examined the experiences of women who have undergone this procedure, and this study sought to address this gap in the literature. The research question guiding this study was: What is the meaning and experience of undergoing social egg freezing for the purpose of delaying childbearing? Through the use of a qualitative phenomenological approach, in-depth unstructured interviews were conducted with six women of reproductive age who electively underwent egg freezing in order to delay childbearing, for the purpose of learning about the meaning and experience of this phenomenon. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using van Manen’s (1990) hermeneutic phenomenological framework. Six common themes emerged from the women’s stories, including: Sense of Reducing the Pressure to Have a Child, Sense of Taking Control and Agency, Sense of Personal Empowerment and Acceptance, Sense of Feeling Fortunate, Sense of Keeping Options Open, and Openness with Others. The research findings are presented and discussed within the context of the limited existing literature on social egg freezing, with an emphasis on highlighting new areas of understanding. The implications of these findings on counselling practice are discussed and suggestions are made for future research.

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