In times gone by, mothers would hope to have their daughters “married off” by the age of 25, or, at most, 30. They had a disconcerting way of talking about “getting your daughters off your hands”.

Thank heavens women are freer today to carve out their own careers and make their own decisions about when, where and if they choose to marry.

But if there are now no pushy mammas harrying young women into “making a good match”, with a view to future parenthood, there is still the ominous presence of the biological clock ticking ever louder as a young woman crosses that Rubicon of 30.

It is a genuine problem for many young women: they want to build their careers, and find a nice man with whom to build a nest. But sometimes it just takes time.

And an increasing number of such women are “buying” time by freezing their ovaries (or eggs) so that they may retrieve them later to conceive a child.

Most commonly, women embark on the egg-freezing endeavour in their 30s, when the biological clock begins to tick louder. But recently the BJOG – an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology – has urged women to have their eggs frozen while in their 20s, when the ovaries are “in good condition”. More than a thousand women froze their eggs in Britain in 2016, but the vast majority were over the age of 35, with reduced “quality”.

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