Cost Implications to Society of Delaying Childbearing

Jennifer Erin Hirshfeld-Cytron


Expert Rev of Obstet Gynecol. 2013;8(1):9-14. 

In This Article


Within our society, despite peak fertility occurring during a woman's 20s, many women are choosing to delay childbearing for a variety of reasons. Furthermore, the timeline of female fertility is not readily understood among the general population. Assisted reproductive technologies are being viewed by many as a strategy for coping with age-related infertility. Yet, assisted reproductive technology is limited in its ability to overcome age-related infertility. Fertility preservation strategies, such as egg and ovarian tissue cryopreservation, initially designed for woman receiving gonadotoxic therapies are being offered to a broader audience. Despite these strategies being investigational, according to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, a majority of clinics in the USA are making egg freezing available to women of all ages for 'social reasons'. While new technologies are sometimes quick to be embraced, their benefits may not always outweigh the costs. This article seeks to examine the true cost to society of delayed childbearing.