March 27, 2012 12:49
As people are getting married later, more and more single women are depositing their eggs at egg banks. The CHA Fertility Center at Gangnam CHA General Hospital is storing the frozen eggs of 107 women, including 36 unmarried ones who decided to freeze their eggs in case they want to have a baby later.
In the past, the practice was mostly restricted to women who were diagnosed with cancer or leukemia and feared that radiation therapy would damage their eggs. However now many single women store their eggs to avoid the risk of infertility or having an unhealthy baby if they get married later in life.
Other hospitals with similar services such as Seoul Medical Center and Seoul Rachel Fertility Center are also getting more calls from single women. A Seoul Medical Center spokesman said, "We are getting an increasing number of calls from single women who are mostly financially well-off."
Yoon Tae-ki at CHA Fertility Center said, "The number of unmarried women who store their eggs in hopes of having a healthy child in the future is increasing not only in the U.S. but also in Korea. There have been a lot of medical advances, so the storage period has been getting longer and is now more than 10 years."
Lee Eun-ji at the Ministry of Health and Welfare said, "As long as the eggs aren't transferred or sold to a third party and the storage period isn't exceeded, there is no legal problem."
But Koo In-hoi of a committee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul said, "When the egg is thawed and goes through in-vitro fertilization, a number of embryos are made. Only some of them are used and the leftovers have to be destroyed. From a religious perspective that views embryos as living human beings the practice is unethical."
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