A growing number of Taiwanese women are choosing to freeze their eggs to extend their fertility, as they postpone marriage to pursue careers.Taiwan is seeing a growing demand for egg freezing services as more women postpone marriage in pursuit of career development, said a fertility clinic in Hsinchu Taiwan.
A slowdown in the economy has made job security a top priority for many women and has helped push the country's average marriage age to 30 from 24 in the 1980's.A strong sense of heritage still motivates women to give birth to blood-tied children.
Thirty-four-year-old Linn Kuo, a manager at Cisco System Taiwan Ltd, has a job that allows her to work from home and provides her a decent salary. While her career has had a smooth trajectory,Kuo said she has not been as lucky in her love life.
After her mother passed away, she realized the importance of having children's support when one's on her death bed. It was then, three years ago, when she chose to freeze her eggs.
"I was not sure when my ovary would start degenerating, but I was sure that I would probably marry late, and I was sure that I wanted to become a mother. I already had my conclusion so I was looking for ways to prevent premature ovarian failure. So I did some research and decided to freeze my eggs," Kuo said.
"People are asking for donated eggs are becoming younger, from their 40s to 30s and even 20s, so we thought if they had frozen their eggs earlier, maybe they wouldn't need to use donated eggs, that's why we combined in-vitro fertilization with the idea of prevention -- prevent them from using others' eggs after their fertility has deteriorated," he said.
The clinic now receives more than 100 phone calls asking about egg freezing, compared to five years ago when they handled approximately 20 cases in a year. He said the technology has matured and the embryo now has a high survival rate with egg freezing. He said the whole process of retrieving the egg takes approximately 20 minutes.
Chen Fen-ling, National Taipei University Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work said society pressures are causing women to delay tying the knot and start a family.
"Married women are like candles burning at both ends. We say that women work two jobs -- they make money with a day-time job, yet when they go back home, they take care of their children and parents-in-law. This pressure often makes women hesitate when making the decision about marriage," she said.
Lai said the service currently costs around 80,000 TWD ($2,676 USD).
Egg-freezing is a method sometimes employed for in-vitro fertilization, which the government says is on the rise.
Health ministry said the number of test tube babies doubled from 13 years ago, from 2317 in 1998 to 4117 in 2010.