Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Terry Kaan on Embryo Freezing (China Daily Interview)

Frannie Guan
China Daily
4 November 2015
The unyielding demands on the city’s workers — the sometimes "notorious" work ethic that fuels the city’s fast pace — is a significant factor contributing to a future of economic decline and a shrinking population, say experts. 
     Yip Siu-fai, a non-official member of Hong Kong’s Steering Committee on Population Policy, points to the city’s notoriously low fertility rate (1.234, 2014), and says the city’s failure to reach the long sought-after, work-life balance is one of the leading causes. 
     The low fertility rate doesn’t mean Hong Kong women don’t want to have babies, says Yip, but they are putting it off. Some are turning to reproductive technology, delaying pregnancy until past their normal reproductive years, up to age 35. Experts caution, however, that there is a limit to how far technologies can help stretch late motherhood...
     Egg freezing is a leading example of advanced reproductive technology, used worldwide to help women preserve their eggs for future pregnancies. Chinese actress and film director Xu Jinglei made news when at 41 she traveled to the United States to have her eggs frozen. The Chinese mainland bans the practice for single women.
     The case triggered public reaction. The loudest voices were those who believe it is a woman’s natural right to have her eggs frozen. They argue that the government should not interfere with family planning at that level. Those who oppose the practice argue that despite the advancement of technology, the success rate of egg freezing is much lower than that of embryo freezing, as eggs, having high water content, are more difficult to freeze...
     "Egg freezing arrests time for the eggs, but it does not freeze time for the mother’s fertility and overall health. The mother continues to get older," said Terry Kaan Sheung-hung, co-director of the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law at the University of Hong Kong. "If we think about the right of women to have a child, we should also consider the interests of the child." He contended that it is to the greater benefit of the child to be born to a relatively young couple, than to couples in their late 40s... Click here to read the full article.

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