Human oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) is a process in which a woman’s unfertilized eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen and stored. The term "social freezing" is used when this is performed without any medical indication. With the help of modern cryopreservation methods it is nowadays possible to thaw the eggs for fertilization at any given time
This gives women, who cannot or do not want to fulfill their wish of a child at the present time, the chance to have a child at a later date. Oocyte cryopreservation was at first aimed only at young women who had cancer and had to have chemotherapy, whereas it is now also used in other situations.
The law in Switzerland regarding "social freezing" is ambiguous. It is generally interpreted as allowing egg freezing without medical indication, e.g. for career reasons. The storage of the frozen eggs is only allowed for a period of five years however.
While egg freezing may be a good or even necessary option in certain cases, the egg retrieval process for oocyte cryopreservation is not without its dangers. It should be noted furthermore, that there are also higher health dangers associated with a mature-age pregnancy. While there have not been many studies on the risks of pregnancies in women who are over 55 years of age, health care professionals do believe the health risks to be serious.