More and more women are delaying motherhood for various reasons – be it the desire to establish their careers, marrying later in life, gaining financial security, or just the plain ol’ choice to do so. And while many women continue to have healthy and successful pregnancies in their 30s and even into their 40s, the fact remains that women over 35 face certain risks unique to their age (Source: Mayo Clinic).
But thanks to a procedure originally used for female cancer patients, women are now able to “preserve” their fertility for later in life.
According to a Business Insider article published today, ovarian tissue transplants first began as a way for young women undergoing cancer treatments – treatments that were likely to disrupt their future chances of successful fertility – to ensure they would be able to have children afterward.
The concept is truly fascinating: Doctors take ovarian tissue from young women, freeze it, and then implant the tissue back into the women, at which point it starts “producing eggs from the immature cells that produce reproductive hormones and turn into eggs.”
As a woman undergoing IVF at the ripe old age of 34 years and 5 months, I wish to God someone had told me about this when I was 20. Not that I would have listened when I was 20. Or that this procedure even existed when I was 20. What I’m trying to say is: Listen up, young ladies! I know the idea of motherhood might be daunting to you right now, and you may even be taking proactive steps to avoid pregnancy altogether (i.e. birth control). But trust you me, the time will likely come when you want a baby in your belly, but your belly’s just too dang old.
My plea may seem moot, as those young women currently avoiding motherhood are likely not reading about it on a parenting website. Or, if by some random act of the universe they are reading this, the idea of undergoing a procedure to acquire their own ovarian tissue for the possibility of future children most assuredly doesn’t rank high on their lists of things to do this weekend.
BUT! I still think ovarian transplants are pretty darn awesome. I suspect as time goes on and women continue delaying motherhood, conversations will arise in gynecologists’ office around the country about ovarian tissue transplants. At the very least, young women will begin to realize this as a viable family-planning option. And the procedure itself seems like no big deal. Apparently, it’s done laparoscopically in under 20 minutes, and the woman goes home about two hours later.
I’m sure it costs an arm and a leg to have your ovarian tissue removed, frozen, and then implanted back into you – not to mention some outstanding foresight – so it’s likely that this fertility advancement will only be accessible for the wealthy and educated. But hey, I could be wrong! Maybe this will become the wave of the future. Get your HPV vaccine and freeze your ovaries all in the same visit.
What do you think? Would you ever consider an ovarian tissue transplant? Is it “too late” for you? Leave a comment and let me know your take on it!
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make A Right
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