Psychosocial determinants of women’s intentions and willingness to freeze their eggs

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Authors:

Lucy E. Caughey, B.S., Katherine M. White, Ph.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To examine the psychosocial factors that influence Australian women’s intentions to freeze their eggs.


Design

Initially, a qualitative elicitation study followed by a larger-scale quantitative study.


Setting

Both studies were conducted online.


Patients

A total of 234 Australian women 25−43 years of age, who identifed as heterosexual, had no children, were open to the idea of having children, were currently not pregnant, and did not have a diagnosis of medical infertility.


Intervention

None.


Main Outcome Measure(s)

Intentions and willingness of women to freeze their eggs.


Result(s)

Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that after accounting for demographic variables, there was strong support for the psychosocial predictors of attitude, pressure from others, and control perceptions as predictors of women’s intentions to freeze their eggs. Of the additional variables, cognitive bias (influence of the media) was significant, and the final model accounted for 52.7% of variance in women’s intentions to freeze their eggs.


Conclusion(s)

This study was the first to predict women’s intentions to freeze their eggs using a well-established decision-making model, the theory of planned behavior. Messages designed to develop a positive attitude toward egg freezing, and to encourage an increased perception of personal control of the egg freezing process, as well as approval from others, could support women to investigate egg freezing, in consultation with appropriate medical advice, as an option when faced with possible future infertility. Effective strategies broaden fertility options for women faced with age-related fertility decline, maximize women’s chances of a successful pregnancy, and, critically, prevent the often substantial psychological distress associated with involuntary childlessness.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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