"Women shouldn't have to rush back & put themselves at risk" - Sloane Stephens on fighting for egg freezing, IVF's inclusion in protected ranking list

Sloane Stephens on fighting for egg freezing, IVF
Sloane Stephens on fighting for egg freezing, IVF's inclusion in protected ranking list

Sloane Stephens has opened up about leading the fight for including egg freezing and IVF in the protected ranking list. She expressed her belief that this change would allow female players to make a comeback to the sport at their own pace, thereby reducing the risk of injury from rushing back.

Stephens has been very open about her journey of freezing her eggs, having begun the process in late 2022 with the support of her husband Jozy Altidore. The American has since become a vocal advocate for other female players to consider this option to extend their careers without feeling the pressure of their biological clocks.

The former World No. 3 is also pushing for the implementation of safeguards regarding this issue and fighting to introduce changes in the WTA.

In a recent interview with Cosmopolitan, Sloane Stephens shed light on the challenging dilemma female players face, feeling like they have to choose between their careers and having a family.

"Tennis is an interesting sport because you can play for a really long time. And being a female athlete is hard in general, because it can feel like you have to decide between career and family, because, well, we bear the children and our bodies are our vehicle," Sloane Stephens said.

Although the 31-year-old promotes egg freezing as a viable alternative option, she has also acknowledged the logistical challenges of undergoing the process while still on tour.

As such, Stephens asserted that it is important for egg freezing and IVF to be included in the protected ranking list, which currently allows players with long-term physical injuries to enter tournaments without starting from the bottom.

She emphasized that this change will make it easier for women to decide to freeze their eggs, without feeling pressured to rush back and risk injury.

"For female tennis players, like myself, so much time and planning has to go into freezing your eggs, because you have to do it, like, the first week of your off-season, if you don't want it to affect your game. And these logistics are a barrier for people," she said.
"So I think it's important that egg freezing, and even IVF, be added to the protected ranking list. That way your ranking doesn't drop and you can still enter tournaments when you're properly healed and ready to return. Women shouldn't have to rush back to play tennis and put themselves at risk of being injured," she added.

Sloane Stephens: "We've been fighting for it through the WTA Player's Council, where they're also working on getting us better maternity leave"

Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens

In the interview with Cosmopolitan, Sloane Stephens also opened up about her efforts to have egg freezing and IVF's inclusion in the protected ranking list, pushing for it through the WTA Player's Council. She disclosed that the council is also working towards securing better maternity leaves for the players.

However, the 31-year-old admitted that achieving these changes is a lengthy process, especially since players choosing to freeze their eggs is still new to the tour.

"We've been fighting for it through the WTA Player's Council, where they're also working on getting us better maternity leave. But it's a process. And it takes a long time," Sloane Stephens said.
"Egg freezing just hasn't been done that often [in tennis], so we're kind of starting from a blank sheet and advocating for the girls who might want to do it moving forward," she added.

On the tennis front, Sloane Stephens is set to commence her grasscourt season at the Rothesay Classic in Birmingham. The American will square off against Yuan Yue in her tournament opener at the WTA 250 event.

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Edited by Urvi Mehra
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