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The real reason women freeze their eggs (theguardian.com)
48 points by urahara 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 70 comments

The article completely avoided talking about the elephant in the room: Family law. If I sire children in the state of California, BATNA for figuring out how to make our lives work together is "I get the state to take half a million dollars from you in spousal and child support".

This is a huge ask for trust. It's something that I will flat out not consider unless I've known someone for at least four years. And guess what? If this is the timeline it takes to build the trust necessary for starting a family, then 22 year old women are two failed relationships away from being single in their thirties.

Much like how it is the retail consumer that pays sales tax, it's young women that pay for the increased levels of trust required for starting a family. Men can wait, and are under almost negative time pressure. Like, if I have a long enough time horizon, I'm probably better off working until I'm 50, saving up $3M or so, moving somewhere with sane family law, and then trying to make a family work with a significantly younger woman.

I think you're absolutely right about one thing: that the level of trust we've come to require for marriage has skyrocketed due to family law, but what's the alternative? Sire children and leave the the burden on women? Furthermore, it's simply crazy to think that you require 4 years to know if you can trust someone. Evidence actually seems to suggest the contrary: longer pre-marriage dating periods are associated with higher divorce rates. Anyway I think it's a mistake to assume that you "know someone" after 4 years or even after 40. People are not static beings, and there's no reason to expect that the longer time you spend with them, the less risky of a choice it will be. In fact that extended period of indecision may actually contribute to eroding trust. And so, as the article seems to argue, the problem is that men are not willing to "be the man", trust themselves and their partner, and embark on a family project with a firm resolve to stay loyal and make things work no matter what.

>be the man, trust yourself and your partner, make things work no matter that.

You're telling us to man up and play russian roulette with 5/6 holes populated. Except that would actually be a nice proposal, when put against family law and divorce rates.

And if you do that last part right, you end up with someone that will be more able (because she's younger) to take care of you when you're older as well.

It's a good deal for everyone, save for the 22 year old guys who are now involuntarily single, and frustrated at their inability to successfully date their peers and start a family.

No seriously. If this is the future of the family, there will be widespread rioting and civil unrest. Perhaps the only saving grace is that the 22 year old men can pass the time to their 50s by sleeping with the women who age out of the "marry a richer older guy" cohort.

There is no longer any benefit to commitment for that cohort; life is pretty good as is (compared to committing to a partner, a home, children, when economic uncertainty is around every corner).


Young men got a bad hand and are playing it the best they can. Are they frustrated? I think it's more being resigned.

There's also birth control. In theory, condoms are ~98% effective, but in reality that figure is much lower due to improper usage. That also doesn't take into account the number of times couples say "just the tip". But birth control gave women the option to spend decades not having to worry about finding men who are husband/father material. I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all, in fact I would prefer that women have this option than go back to a pre-birth control age. But an unintentional effect is that women may be less desperate to settle down until a certain age when reality begins to hit.

Frankly speaking, women and men also need each other far less than they used to on a practical level. Automation allows for men and women to exist separately from each other and live comfortably; as a man who doesn't have a girlfriend, I have been doing all the chores, shopping, cooking, and cleaning on my own without breaking much of a sweat. Again, this is a great thing and I wouldn't want to give up the kind of automation that both men and women benefit from, but yet again, it's far less of a reason to get married and have kids at a younger age. If you don't have to compromise fun for practical utility, that's way less pressure to "settle down".

>women and men also need each other far less than they used to on a practical level

In my naive, rosy understanding of the world practicality has never been the main driver of establishing a relationship, but rather a nice-to-have side effect. No automation can replace a meaningful romantic relationship, and we're still social animals that need more than Facebook friends. And no, settling down is not the only reason to find someone.

The math isn't quite right, because success may take 4 years, but failure usually comes much faster.

Success is never guaranteed. Relationships can fall apart at any time.

And will, statistically. Family courts, wielding family law, will then screw the man over.

> I get the state to take half a million dollars from you in spousal and child support

If you have children, then yes—you do need to pay for them.

Family law in the five eyes is a racket.

> New research confirms that women are not, as a rule, freezing their eggs for career reasons, but instead because they don’t have a partner.

I have a feeling it's more linked than we want to admit.

As men we've taken advances in productivity and technology and thrown it in the trash by working longer and harder. More free time is filled up increasingly by more work. Finding a partner and staying together takes a lot of time.

Now women are being pulled into the same trap/punishment as men, and finally we can include them in our own destruction.

Even in ancient times when invaders razed a city they would kill any fighting-age men but often spare women. In Silicon Valley nobody is spared.

When women entered the workforce, became successful, and married working men they set the real estate market on fire. The "American dream" 2 kids, 2 cars, and a white picket fence went from single income, blue-collar affordable to dual income, white-collar struggling to make the down payment.

It's not all the fault of feminists, though. Automation, immigration, and the rise of China have all played a big part.

Are you saying automation and globalisation caused inflation ?

Inflation is based on a standard basket of goods which hasn't gone up in price very much. The big ticket items in life such as a house or a college education have skyrocketed.

Why have house prices gone up?

lol so unaffordable house prices are the fault of women who feel that they actually want to have a career instead of being a housewife? Oh and immigrants too, right? Why not blame women for also having babies, that increases demand too, doesn't it?

What? The canonical book on this was written by Elizabeth Warren, it's not exactly a conservative idea.

The basic model as she describes it is that since spaces in 'good neighborhoods' and good school districts were fundamentally limited (by space and law), adding a second income to a family did little to increase their wealth - all of the extra earnings were devoted to bidding up a supply-limited resource. Middle class families roughly doubled their earnings but saw almost no benefit for it.

There's further evidence for this claim from the left, too. Piketty discusses overall inequality, but Rognlie persuasively argues that much or all of rising inequality in the US is attributable to skyrocketing land/housing costs. This isn't some trad-con claim that women working is a problem, it's a claim that what should have been a massively positive change for families in the middle class and below was consumed by a certain group of rentiers, resulting in more work without more wealth.

edit: I missed the word 'all' in the last line of the parent to your comment - I thought it simply said "not the fault of feminism". That... changes things quite a bit. This wasn't an inevitable consequence of women working, and the implication that the proper cure would be women not working is hideous. Apologies for the misunderstanding.

This wasn't an inevitable consequence of women working

How wasn't it? The supply of housing in family-friendly neighborhoods is limited. Increase every family's disposable income and they'll bid up housing prices.

In fact, if you look at the types of jobs women take it's exacerbated even further. The vast majority of women work in cities. Hardly any women work in remote areas. This puts even more upward pressure on home prices in cities.

I didn't say the 'proper cure' is for women to not work. I'm glad so many women are able to live with financial Independence today. My comment needs to be read in context with the article. Women who have reached a point of success in their careers but are obviously unhappy due to not 'having it all'. They've been sold a bill of goods. For women, the ability to work has become the necessity to work.

> The supply of housing in family-friendly neighborhoods is limited.

The supply of housing in family-friendly neighborhoods is limited by the # of family-friendly neighborhoods, which in turn is limited by the number of people having families. As more people have families, there are more family-friendly neighborhoods, and so the supply increases.

No, it's the fault of groups. I don't blame individuals of any sort for doing everything they can to improve their lot in life. But when everyone acts in their own interest the collective effect can be negative for all. Read Meditations on Moloch, [0] one of the best essays Scott Alexander has ever written, for a better explanation than I could give here.

[0] http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/

I was with you until you suddenly got racist for no reason.

Why does economics immediately become a zero-sum game when immigrants are involved? What does China have to do with America's changing culture?

Assuming you're complaining about the phrase "the rise of China," it's not racism, but economics and the wealth of nations. China's economy has boomed in several distinct dimensions over the past three decades. They are part of BRICS, the five nations in G20 who like to talk to each other about how fast their burgeoning markets are growing.

And, due to the way trade works, China's rise has changed how folks in the USA value and purchase goods. I'm sorry if this feels racist to you, but I can't fix you.

> I was with you until you suddenly got racist for no reason.

This is ridiculous.

What exactly about GP's comment suggests that they believe that some people are inferior by virtue of their race?

My guess is that OP was referring to real estate being unaffordable due to China's upper classes making investments in US/Canadian real estate.

Dude.. [1]

People have become waaaay to adept at pulling the victimhood card as soon as something either doesn't fit their narrative or disadvantages them. It needs to stop.


A. I was talking about the "immigration" bullet point, and when modern Americans talk about immigration, they don't mean "white Europeans coming to America", like they did back in the day with Irish and whoever. I have not seen an anti-immigration argument in decades that didn't have racist undertones.

B. Not really sure what China's middle class has to do with America's middle class, but OK.

C. I think the modern leftist victim complex is a load of hogwash and I don't think immigrants are always a good thing.

Real estate has been zero sum ever since we ran out of frontier. Employment is zero sum when immigrants (of any race) try to add a lot of labor supply and minimal demand to an economy that already had a severe job shortage.

We have gigantic amounts of real estate effectively unoccupied in the united states, we are 179th in terms of population density for countries (almost the very bottom.)

Immigrants do not add "minimal demand", immigrants drive significant demand and expand communities, for example, bloomberg reporting that gas prices dropping may have a contributing factor that immigrants driving less this summer.

Lastly, our use of technology means that nothing is a zero sum game, we have created industries and growth through the use of various pulses of migrants and they are one of the core pieces of american success.

When we had a frontier, we had a surplus of habitable land and resources and immigration was a quick way to make the most use of it. That's over now, and we're spreading the same wealth among more and more people.

An migrant worker creates less demand than a native doing the same job, because they're trying to live austerely and remit as much of their income as they possibly can out of our economy and back to their family's. They aren't building out water and power homesteading our uninhabitable scrub, they're living ten to an apartment near the few jobs.


He said "immigration", not "illegal immigration".

Good try though.

That is a good point, I misread that. Thank you.

> More free time is filled up increasingly by more work. Finding a partner and staying together takes a lot of time.

This was my thought through the whole article. There's some value to the basic observation here - that this isn't purely a career decision - but everything after that feels like a false dichotomy.

It's not just "having a kid means spending less time at the office, so I'll miss a promotion". It's "having a kid, and everything leading up to having a kid, is an enormous time sink that I can't sustain with the job I've already committed to". That's a standard explanation for the demographic issues of, say, Japan, but it somehow disappears when we're talking about professionals in the US - even though it's far more obvious than implying that career and dating are somehow opposing explanations.

I don't know if you have read it, but this is basically the hypothesis of Germaine Greer. Her conclusion is that equality for women (and thus feminism) does not mean lives for women that are equivalent to that of men.

> Now women are being pulled into the same trap/punishment as men, and finally we can include them in our own destruction.

Isn't it a fabulous irony. The dream of technology is that it'll free up more time for us to enjoy life, yet we find ourselves more slave to our hamster wheels in an ever more expensive, demanding world, where our only comfort is living the commercially constructed "now".

Women with families are doubly punished. Today they are expected to be both breadwinner and home-builder. While this is welcoming, the reality is that this is a superpower and can be a burden, especially if society doesn't adapt to it (e.g. work flexibility) and men and women continue to not share responsibilities at home.

Sometimes I think that in our intellectual battle for gender rights and justice, we forget another party, the one most innocent yet may bear the most brunt - our children. Who, coincidentally, will also be the next generation.

As can be seen from the following graph, the average person in the US is working a lot fewer hours than they have previously: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/AVHWPEUSA065NRUG

So not only is free time not taken up by more work, more work is taken up by free time (this also does not include benefits from eg. washing machines). This also agrees with my own experience, my granddad used to get saturday of at noon (ie. it was half a work day), now I get saturday of entirely.

Save you the click: New research confirms that women are not, as a rule, freezing their eggs for career reasons, but instead because they don’t have a partner.

The rest is a weird mix of 'male culture' blaming and anecdotes. Nothing lost by skipping this...

And the reason they don't have a partner is...

Is probably more complicated than guys suck because they're unwilling to be serious or commit and women are perfect.

People are feeling less stable financially and career wise. Dating is also far more complicated than it used to be and people have unrealistic expectations. This inevitably leads to prolonged dating, delayed marriage, and delayed childbirth. Freezing eggs is a pretty natural hedge against this problem.

Women seem to have it a bit harder when it comes to everything, including dating. However, one thing I did when I started looking for an actual partner was to jot down what I was looking for (my "standards") and really evaluate how realistic they were given my appearance, social status, education and personality. It has a rough analogy to how employers in tech complain of a "talent deficit" when in reality it's a "talent deficit at the price we're willing to pay": there is a "partner deficit" in some way in the sense of "deficit at the standards we apply."

Not to say obstacles and actual deficits don't exist, but I've found that often when concerns about partner suitability come up the standards involved aren't given as much attention as they merit, or that frequently there are standards being applied the person isn't aware of or doesn't want to admit to.

>Women seem to have it a bit harder when it comes to everything, including dating.

In what world is this? Younger women are outperforming men in just about every metric, economic and social. They're also legally privileged, in family law and criminal sentencing. And despite all this, they still have half of the men in the country advocating for even more special privileges for women.

In the real world where negative cultural stereotypes about body/image issues are more pronounced for them, and where they are at much higher risk of sex abuse in childhood, rape (at just about any age, and especially by their boyfriends and male acquaintances), harassment, and employment discrimination.

> It’s not the man’s fault – [...]

> [...]the issue that drives the success of the egg freezing industry has never been employer’s attitudes to motherhood, but instead, men’s. Even if it’s something that only strikes us as it becomes a reality, women know there is a time limit on our fertility. But it’s as if men are encouraged to ignore this icky truth, to look away as if from something obscene.

I fail to recognize how it's somehow a man's responsibility to recognize a woman's "time limit". It seems like this author is pining for some kind of Patriarchy Lite where men's primary goal in dating is to inseminate a woman for the sake of her eggs, and not so much for his own benefit. Just like nearly every one of these sorts of articles I've read, it fails to take into account the perspectives of men in the "man deficit". I can speculate to almost no end on why women might believe that there's a "man deficit", but I won't because plenty of men perceive a deficit of women, both in terms of archetypes and availability.

In summary, the author is sexist and views men as failures for not providing enough sperm for women's eggs, failing to take into account how in any way how such a setup benefits(or fails) men or why men would even agree to get married in the first place. The view that women have of fatherhood that this author is implying is much more twisted than how she thinks men view motherhood. Seriously, I'm supposed to take pity on women in the dating pool because their biological clock is ticking and therefore sacrifice my own desires? Hah.

> And here you have the men who learned at school to lose interest in a girl if she texts back too quickly.

I've never heard of this. Has anyone else here? Maybe this is specific to the UK? Seems pretty bizarre as I can't imagine boys in school teaching each other not to get together with girls.

I'll spare you the read. Women are freezing their eggs because men "lose interest in a girl if she texts back too quickly" and men "assume they'll [women] be wanting kids within the year" or men are "unable to commit". Men are the problem. Let's not take responsibility for anything here.

"Come 35, it’s common for women to knock a year or two off their age on dating apps, having seen interest plummet as men assume they’ll be wanting kids within the year. .... but these are women who want to wait for a partner, someone who will go all in and plan for a future."

its hard to make any meaningful comments without actual data, but it feels many of these people have become picky yet want Mr perfect, when they are far from perfect.

More often it is just about trying to find someone who is at least not 'worse' than she is. There are multiple stats and evidence on how women are discriminated by society in many ways, so it's pretty obvious that their 'dating market' is times more narrow as these attitudes also take place on personal level.

> ... you have the women in their 30s, beautiful, confident, independent and hilarious, spending their flat deposit on a single hope, because there is nobody there at night ...

And where did their 20s go? Probably dedicated to their careers

So ?

I'd seek the root cause of why women are more likely to be unmarried in their 30s if I were to write this article.

Frankly, with current stats of disadvantages women experience in society, it seems a miracle they still marry at all.

That turns around easily: With all the risks that marriage imposes upon men, it seems a miracle that they still marry at all.


Please actually source/cite statistics for that. Yes, women get raped more often. Men are more often the victim of violent crime.


They face those same risks being around men, even if they don't marry. I'd need to see some kind of evidence that abuse is more prevalent within married couples than within unmarried couples.

I meant not that marriage is a higher risk for women than being in a romantic relationship (I didn't see any stats on married vs unmarried violence rates towards women), but that in a marriage risks of physical abuse women face are times more significant/important/damaging than any commercial risks men face. Any commercial risk is just nothing in the face of risks like being killed/beaten/raped.

But that's not what you were talking about.

> Frankly, with current stats of disadvantages women experience in society, it seems a miracle they still marry at all.

If you'd said "it seems a miracle that they get into romantic relationships at all", I probably would've still disagreed, but I also wouldn't have commented. The way that you wrote the comment seems to state that the change of marital status is the important transition point, in terms of danger.

If your point was just meant to be that male-on-female violence is much more common than female-on-male violence, then we're in full agreement. I'm also not going to open the can of worms of weighing physical harm against discrimination within family law.

I think Jordan Peterson had one of the best takes on why successful women struggle to make both a family and a career happen and why so many screech their careers to a halt when they hit 30: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NV2yvI4Id9Q

> these are women who want to wait for a partner, someone who will go all in and plan for a future.

Men who just wait will end up waiting for a long time, maybe forever, too. Equality also means responsibility. Today, finding a partner means taking initiative, not just waiting, for both sexes.

Sure, but women still get punished for initiative due to long standing cultural norms. For women from countries with strongly conservative cultures it can be times harder to not only find a suitable potential partner, but also establish a contact with him without scaring him away with initiative.

Welcome to the dating world for men.

These 2 worlds are very different. If you meant that men are also punished for initiative in some similar way - no, general social/cultural contexts and punishments on the dating market are completely different for men and women.

I strongly prefer women who take the initiative, because there've been too many times that I misinterpreted some signal as being indicative of interest. I decided that the friendships were more important than the possibility of a romantic relationship, so I stopped asking for a long time. When the reverse happened, it never meant the end of a friendship. Things just tended to go smoother.

I don't know if most men just decide "screw those friendships" and go for the gusto, or what, but that never made sense to me.

I've had a lot of gal friends of mine talk about guys, and have literally heard the phrase "I would probably date him, but he's too forward".


Current cultural assumption is that your twenties are an extended adolescence where dating is to be casual/fun and you figure out what you want to do with your life, but your thirties is where all the adult stuff happens. I don't agree with that at all. If you want to be happily married with a family, you need to start moving toward that in your twenties in order to ensure you have a good chance of it. Fertility is not a given, nor do you know how long it will take to find a worthwhile partner.

(I'm ignoring issues of kids vs career that women have to make here, which is a sucky thing indeed.)

Garfunkel and Oates cover the dilemma some women find themselves in related to suddenly realizing you have no partner and no prospects https://youtu.be/H-gfxjAaZg0

Just a quick reminder folks, marriage is a cornerstone, not a capstone. You build your lives together.

If I were a sociologist, I'd post these stories to different forums just for the resulting discussion. Twenty-something startup bros, keep chattering, this freak'n gold.


Free from gender bias?

"And here you have the men who learned at school to lose interest in a girl if she texts back too quickly."

Yeah, no. I think that most men will find it the other way around.

OK fair enough, delete the "free from gender bias" part of my post. But the point is (a) main claim of article is accurate, a lot of people in their late 30s simply have not found a partner with whom to reproduce; nothing to do with careerism, (b) a lot of the criticisms in this thread seem to come from people with some sort of "Men's Rights" stand point.

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