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Study: Education gaps leaving women partner-less

Israeli and US anthropologists interview educated women freezing their eggs, say many have been unable to find eligible fathers

Female egg-freezing, illustrative (YouTube screenshot)
Female egg-freezing, illustrative (YouTube screenshot)

A study by Israeli and American researchers has pointed to a growing number of academically inclined women freezing their eggs due to difficulties finding suitable partners.

Researchers interviewed 150 US and Israeli women currently engaged in the egg-freezing process. They found that contrary to popular belief that career-focused women are delaying starting families in order to pursue their vocation, many are simply having difficulty meeting a likely father.

They said recent Western world trends are seeing a growing disparity between the number of college educated men and women.

“Most women who are educated would like to have an educated partner,” the UK’s Telegraph quoted study author Prof. Marcia Inhorn as saying.

However “there is a major gap — they are literally missing men,” the professor of anthropology at Yale University explained.

“There are not enough college graduates for them. In simple terms, this is about an oversupply of educated women,” she said. “In China they call them ‘left over women.’ It sounds cold and callous but in demographic terms this is about missing men and left over women.”

The freezing process buys the women over 30 more time to find a partner, as frozen young eggs have a greater chance of successfully developing into a healthy fetus than those that appear toward the end of a woman’s fertile period.

Women also told researchers they were not necessarily against partnering with less educated men, but that these were often intimidated by them and thus uninterested in relationships themselves.

“It may be about rethinking the way we approach this,” Inhorn said. “Maybe we need to be doing something about our boys and young men, to get them off to a better start.”

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