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MP Miriam Cates fears women being exploited into freezing eggs

Conservative MP Miriam Cates has said she fears women are being exploited by large corporations offering them money to freeze their eggs to put off having children to a later age.

The 41-year-old mother-of-three said she is concerned women are being falsely reassured by the existence of procedures such as IVF into deciding to delay pregnancy until their late 30s.

The MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge told the Mail On Sunday: “Egg freezing doesn’t work. A tiny percentage of people who freeze their eggs will ever become pregnant.

“By the time women think about doing this, for obvious reasons they are thinking, ‘my biological clock is ticking, I’ve not met the right guy, I’m not ready to settle down’.

“But, unfortunately, if you freeze your eggs after the age of 35 or so, they are not good quality enough to likely result in a later pregnancy, and I think it is quite unethical for commercial companies to be targeting women.

“There are some big corporations that will pay for women to do this, and I believe it is really exploitative because it’s saying we want to retain you in the workplace and so we will give you false promises.”

Egg freezing plan
A frozen embryo is placed in a long-term storage chamber (Ben Birchall/PA)

Mrs Cates said she understands the financial and social pressures for delaying pregnancies and added the Government needs to look at policies such as “better housing”.

She added: “There is a biological possibility window, which for most people is 16 to 40, but we know after late-20s that the chances go down and down, so if you really want to be a parent then your best chance is sooner rather than later.”

The MP, who is a Christian and a former biology teacher, also called the Scottish Government “unethical” for running a campaign promoting egg donation.

She said: “They are using taxpayers’ money to convince young women to go through what is a very traumatic and potentially dangerous process of egg donation without really explaining what this means – someone else will have your genetic child, and may be identifiable to that child when they are 18.

“Egg donation means months of hormone injections, having your ovaries inflated, and a quite traumatic internal process to remove those eggs.”

She also expressed her concerns over the use of surrogate mothers, saying: “I think it is also really important to think about the baby’s rights and the baby’s welfare, and I don’t think that we think enough about what it means to actually take a baby off its mother at birth.”

On social media, Mrs Cates suggested the age limit for accounts should be raised to 16, with the introduction of new phones which have limited functions such as not being able to access pornography.