The Big Freeze

The Big Freeze

A Reporter's Personal Journey into the World of Egg Freezing and the Quest to Control Our Fertility

About the Book

A fascinating investigation into the lucrative, minimally regulated, fast-growing industry of egg freezing, from a young reporter on a personal journey into the world of cutting-edge reproductive medicine

“An engaging and groundbreaking book.”—Toni Weschler, MPH, author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility

Ovaries. Most women have two; journalist Natalie Lampert has only one. Then, in her early twenties, she almost lost it, along with her ability to ever have biological children. Doctors urged her to freeze her eggs, and Lampert started asking questions. 

The Big Freeze is the story of Lampert’s personal quest to investigate egg freezing, as well as the multibillion-dollar femtech industry, in order to decide the best way to preserve her own fertility. She attended flashy egg-freezing parties, visited high-priced fertility clinics, talked to dozens of women who froze their eggs, toured the facility in Italy where the technology was developed, and even attended a memorial service for thousands of accidentally destroyed embryos. 

What was once science fiction is now simply science: Fertility can be frozen in time. Between 2009 and 2022, more than 100,000 women in the United States opted to freeze their eggs. Along with in vitro fertilization, egg freezing is touted as a way for women to “have it all” by conquering their biological clocks, in line with the global trend of delaying childbirth. A generation after the Pill, this revolutionary technology offers a new kind of freedom for women. But does egg freezing give women real agency or just the illusion of it?

A personal and deeply researched guide to the pros, cons, and many facets of this wildly popular technology, The Big Freeze is a page-turning exploration of the quest to control fertility, with invaluable information that answers the questions women have been afraid to ask—or didn’t know they should ask in the first place.

* This audiobook edition includes a downloadable PDF of notes and resources from the book.
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Praise for The Big Freeze

“In her personal quest for accurate, up-to-date information, Natalie Lampert has crafted an extraordinarily in-depth guide to egg freezing. This is a must-read for all those considering this rapidly expanding technology.”—Marcia C. Inhorn, Yale University professor and author of Motherhood on Ice: The Mating Gap and Why Women Freeze Their Eggs

“After taking just one look at The Big Freeze, I was hooked. It’s a page-turner, yes, but more than that, Lampert has written an incredibly comprehensive and intimate look at the world of high-tech procedures and helps the reader to consider the pros and cons of something as life-altering as egg freezing. It’s an engaging and groundbreaking book.”—Toni Weschler, MPH, author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility

The Big Freeze is a scrupulously reported and brilliantly narrated journey through the complex terrain of modern fertility medicine, where medicine and research meet marketing and fantasy. Lampert uses what is most personal in her own life to explore so many interlinked and complicated stories, taking us into laboratories, into clinics, and into the lives of those who look to this science to help them realize their most personal hopes.”—Perri Klass, MD, NYU professor and author of The Best Medicine: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future

“Since reproductive freedom and choice cannot coexist with ignorance, The Big Freeze is a dream come true. The science, promise, emotion, commerce, culture, history, failings, future, personal, and political of the fertility industry: It’s all here in Lampert’s rigorous, generous, monumental work. I’m simply thrilled this book exists; no one even vaguely considering assisted reproduction should be without it.”—Elisa Albert, author of After Birth and Human Blues

“Journalist Lampert debuts with a trenchant investigation of the egg freezing industry and the commodification of women’s reproductive health. Providing a critical look at the egg freezing industry, Lampert reports on the scientific conferences, medical consultations, and promotional events she attended while deciding on whether to undergo the procedure as she entered her early 30s. . . . Her evenhanded reporting will help those considering it sift the science from the hype. This will open readers’ eyes.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“In her informative debut book, Lampert combines health journalism and personal history to offer a close look at a significant innovation in assisted reproduction: egg freezing. Lampert recounts the widely varying experiences of several women who opted for egg freezing, and she reflects in candid detail on the process of her own decision-making process. . . . An engaging and well-researched book.”Kirkus Reviews
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About the Author

Natalie Lampert
Natalie Lampert is an award-winning journalist whose reporting focuses primarily on women’s health and the fertility industry. A former Fulbright scholar, she has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The Guardian, among other publications. Lampert lives in Boulder, Colorado. More by Natalie Lampert
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