Most women freeze their eggs because they cannot find a similarly successful man (stock)
Career women have long been thought to be putting motherhood on ice because they choose their job over a baby.
However, most women who freeze their eggs are doing so not because of their career but because they cannot find a similarly successful man.
The claim was made following reports that women are a third more likely to attend university than men in the UK.
Their problem, according to US and Israeli researchers, is that they are unable to find similarly clever, driven men because fewer males are entering higher education.
Their findings have been backed up by British fertility clinics.
The study's author Marcia Inhorn, professor of anthropology at Yale University, said of women who freeze their eggs: 'There are not enough graduates for them. In simple terms, this is about an oversupply of educated women.
'In China they call them "leftover women". '
Professor Geeta Nargund, medical director of Create Fertility, said: 'Women tell us frequently that they are freezing their eggs because the men they meet feel threatened by their success and so are unwilling to commit to starting a family together.'
Freezing eggs as an 'insurance policy'
In western countries soaring numbers of women are freezing their eggs as an 'insurance policy' to beat their biological clock.
The latest study examined 150 women in the US and Israel, more than 90 percent of whom said they were not intentionally 'postponing' their fertility because of their education or career.
Rather, they were desperately 'preserving' their fertility before their eggs ran low and they lost their chance to have a child, because they were single or without a man to marry.
More university educated women than men
Last year 30,015 more women aged 18 were accepted for university in the UK than men of the same age, according to UCAS.
In that year, 56 percent of acceptances were for females.
Up until 2014, 3,676 women in Britain had opted to have their eggs frozen, with experts saying it is now more popular than ever.
University admissions service UCAS said while 36.8 percent of women entered higher education in 2016, the figure for men was 27.2 percent, with more women than men on two-thirds of courses.
The gender gap for higher education is now as large as that between rich and poor people, which was described as a 'worrying inequality' by former UCAS chief executive Mary Curnock-Cook.
What the experts say
Describing the phenomenon, Professor Inhorn said: 'This is an issue that has been misinterpreted so much - this idea of a selfish career woman, putting her fertlility on hold.'
She added: 'Maybe women need to be prepared to be more open to the idea of a relationship with someone not as educated.
'But also may be we need to be doing something about our boys and young men, to get them off to a better start.'
Professor Simon Fishel, founder of Care Fertility, said: 'Anthropologically we are always searching, consciously or unconsciously, for like-minded people so it is not a great leap to understand that women are looking for someone on the same level, who is university-educated or a professional.
'They certainly ask about that when looking for a sperm (or egg) donor, so it is likely to apply to a partner.
'This problem of "missing men" is absolutely the case in many situations in the UK, but there is a wider problem behind the increasing desire for egg freezing, not least about men and women being too unaware of their biological clocks.'