Japanese City Offers Women an Expensive Perk So They Have More Babies

The city of Urayasu, Japan is offering its women a unique and expensive perk in an attempt to solve Japan’s looming population crisis — egg freezing.

Freezing eggs has become a popular fertility treatment in the U.S. where it is offered to military service women as well as to employees at tech companies like Facebook and Apple as a job perk.

Over the next three years, a university hospital in Urayasu will cover the majority of the cost of egg freezing for eligible women ages 24 to 35. Women will still have to pay 20% of the cost, which is still equivalent to $2,000. According to SCMP, around a dozen women have already accepted the city’s offer.

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Women’s fertility dramatically drops near the age of 40 as the eggs become fewer and weaker with age. While there is no medical guarantee whatsoever, freezing eggs is toted as a biological clock stopper and recommended by fertility experts for women over the age of 30 who have not found a suitable partner or the financial means to raise a child.

An American Society for Reproductive Medicine report estimates that one frozen egg has a 2-12% chance of leading to a baby even in younger women. A 2015 study, however, found that the live birth rate out of a sample of 2,227 frozen eggs was 43.2%, comparable to the 49.6% live birth rate from fresh eggs in an IVF cycle.

Earlier this year, Japan’s population census reported the first population drop in modern history — the 2010 census reported a population of 128,057,352 while in February 2016, the population was reported as 127,110,000.

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