Faith, Issue 52

Is egg-freezing for social reasons OK?

Is egg-freezing for social reasons OK?

With the recent policy change in Singapore that allows social egg-freezing, this may be a question that you are asking. TAM WAI JIA, a doctor and mother, shares her thoughts. 

After years of consideration by the authorities, women in Singapore, regardless of their marital status, will soon be allowed to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons. Known as social egg-freezing, this would allow women to preserve their fertility by retrieving, freezing, and storing their eggs, in order to have children later in life. This allows women to preserve younger and healthier eggs while they may not be ready to conceive yet, avoiding the issue of declining egg quality.

When the news broke out, I asked myself, “Hm, I wonder what God thinks about this?”

If you’re a young woman wondering “Is this right?” or “How should I respond?”, my hope is that you may prayerfully consider these three questions.

1. WHO OR WHAT IS THE CENTRE OF MY LIFE?

In recent news articles, interviewees shared that egg-freezing acts as “insurance”, giving them less pressure to marry early, since the option of having healthy eggs will be available. 

In Luke 12:16–21, Jesus tells the story of a rich man who built bigger barns for himself to store surplus grain. Instead of praising him, God rebuked him. “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” 

This reminds me that, as Christ-followers, perhaps our lives are not meant to be lived with an “insurance mentality”. Rather, we are to live ready to submit to God’s will.

When I decided to marry my cancer-surviving, post-liver-transplant husband, Cliff, it was at a time where he was diagnosed with his first liver complication since his transplant over 20 years ago. 

A mentor asked, “If you marry him, what if you cannot have children?”

I was shaken.

But I felt God challenge me: “Will you centre your life around the possibility of having children, or Me?”

I realised: God was inviting me to welcome Him as the ultimate Anchor of my life. Regardless of whether I would end up as unmarried, an early widow, or married without children, He was inviting me to trust Him wholeheartedly. Over the past ten years of marriage, Cliff’s immunosuppressant medications have been quartered. We have two children. We have served in Africa and by God’s grace, he has been healthy. 

While this might sound like a happy ending, the truth is that at those crucial moments of decision-making, we had to make the hard choice of trusting in God instead of our back-up plans.

As we step into His invitation to lead a life of faith, wholly submitted to His will, without an insurance mentality,

“WILL YOU CENTRE YOUR LIFE AROUND THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING CHILDREN, OR ME? ”

will we trust that His plans for us will ultimately be good, even if it is different from what we envisioned? 

2. What does a godly, empowered woman look like?

Another argument for social egg-freezing is to empower women with choices. 

News articles champion women’s right to pursue what they consider to be their priorities, including when to have children. But I wonder, what does a godly, empowered woman look like?

The Oxford dictionary defines empowerment as “the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights.”

While the world defines empowerment as giving one power to make more choices, God’s idea of empowerment is vastly different. In fact, God’s word tells us the very opposite — He wants us to be empowered by His Spirit, to crucify our flesh and lay our rights down to Him (Mark 8:34). As we empty ourselves, it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us with wisdom for godly living (1 Cor 2:4-5). 

Should we not consider then, that a truly empowered woman is not one who has greater control over her life and societal rights, but rather, one who has laid down her rights to God? One who is empowered by the divine discernment and godly wisdom from the Holy Spirit to make the right choices among those presented to her?

Social egg-freezing is a choice made with the possibility of opting for in-vitro fertilisation in the future. By doing so, multiple embryos that may not carry on to pregnancy may be stored, frozen or used in research. To what extent might this commodify the sanctity of having children? 

By supporting social egg-freezing, might we also inadvertently worsen social inequities, since it can be afforded only by the rich, with costs reaching up to $15,000? Advocates suggest allowing younger women to donate their eggs to those who cannot afford the procedure or to those who are older. While this appears to promote social equity, might this not create more social complexities, such as using one’s eggs for income? 

There are no easy answers to these questions. Nonetheless, let’s choose to be women of strength and confidence who believe in being empowered not by the wisdom of the world, but by the wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit. 

3. Are we willing to entrust our lives into His hands?

Another common reason for social egg-freezing is needing more time to be fully ready, to do it all first before nurturing a child. Due to career desires and goals such as living life more fully without kids, some may wish to preserve their younger eggs in order to have healthy children later on in life.

AS CHRIST-FOLLOWERS, CAN WE SAY, “I WILL TRUST HIM” FOR HIS BEST TIMING IN ALL THINGS?

In other words, the world will say, “I can’t provide enough, I haven’t lived enough, so let me wait.” But as Christ-followers, can we say, “I will trust Him” for His best timing in all things?

Psalm 16:5–6 has encouraged me deeply through the years: “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.”

The key is not for us to take our lives into our own hands and make decisions on practical outcomes. Rather, it is to yield to His will, allow Him to chart our paths and to trust He will provide above and beyond what we need. Today, will you entrust your all in all to Jesus, and trust that if you yield to His will, that He will provide everything you need?

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Before we champion egg-freezing as a form of life insurance, to advocate for women’s rights, or to have it all under our own control, may we first and foremost declare God as the Anchor of our lives.

Let us trust Him to provide the grace and faith we need, that we may walk in the true freedom that God has given us as Christian women (John 8:36; Gal 3:28), with confidence and discernment to fully embrace His will. 

As you weigh these prayerfully before God, may He speak to you. And as you share your thoughts with those who disagree, may He grant you gentleness, wisdom and above all, love.

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