Freezing eggs?

A Charlie Hankin cartoon in the January 25th issue of the New Yorker:

Penguins, yes, but also an illustration of how much you need to know to appreciate a cartoon. In this case, you need to know about IVF and the option of freezing a woman’s eggs so as to perform the procedure at some time in the future. (This reduces the chances of successful IVF, but women can have reasons for saving eggs up for the future.)

But that’s human reproduction; a woman’s eggs are internal, in her ovaries. Penguins, on the other hand, are egg-laying creatures; their eggs are external, and have shells, in which chicks develop from fertilized yolks, until they hatch. During this period, an egg must be incubated, kept warm by the heat of a parent’s body (while resting on the parent’s feet). According to the SeaWord site,

The incubation period varies with species. It may be as short as one month, as in the erect-crested penguins, or as long as 62 to 66 days for emperor penguins.

(For comparison, the incubation period for domestic chickens is about 21 days.)

So in the real world, penguins go to amazing lengths to insure that their eggs do not freeze, since if they did, the chicks would die. But things are different in Cartoon World, where creatures are an awful lot like human beings.

(Oh yes, Charlie Hankin now has his own Page on this blog.)

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