Educated women who choose to freeze their eggs aren’t doing so because they are too busy with their careers to focus on babies. They simply can’t find men of equal status to partner up with, contends new research.

The study found that many professional educated women want to start families but are having trouble finding men with similar education levels because of an “education gap” that the study authors suspect is likely to continue.

Marcia Inhorn, a medical anthropology professor at Yale University, led the study, which focused on 150 women in the U.S. and Israel who were visiting fertility clinics to have their eggs frozen. Most of the women were in their late 30s and more than 80 per cent had university degrees.

Interviews with the women revealed that in more than 90 per cent of cases, the women were choosing egg freezing because they hadn’t been able to find a partner and hoped to buy a little more time to do so.

Inhorn says there is a perception that women who choose egg freezing are so consumed with their careers, they ignore their ticking biological clocks. But she says that didn’t bear out in her research.

“Many of these women were amazing, successful professionals. However, they were pretty insistent that they had been looking for a partner all along,” she told CTV News Channel.

She suspects that part of the problem is that so many couples these days meet online through dating sites. That means filling out surveys listing desired traits. Most educated women check boxes indicating that they want to meet an equally educated man, but often come up short.

Women have been excelling academically for some time now, Inhorn notes. About 39 per cent more women are in university than men in the U.S., she says, and in Canada, it’s 29 per cent more women than men.

That “oversupply” of educated women is happening all around the Western world, she says, and looks likely to continue.

“The fact that there are simply not enough educated men in the population to match the number of educated women is creating a very important demographic disparity,” Inhorn said.

Inhorm’s study is being presented at the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Geneva.