Confession: I’m afraid my eggs will poop out on me before I’m done having kids. But the thing is, I’m not ready to have more children just yet — I want to buy a house, write a few books, travel with only one small human, sleep … so what’s a girl to do?
Freeze my eggs?
Egg freezing is the hot (or cold?) fertility trend of procuring eggs from a woman’s uterus, freezing them, and re-implanting them when she’s ready to introduce the egg to a sperm. This practice became a viable option in 2012 when breakthroughs in freezing and thawing techniques helped prevent eggs from being ruined by ice crystals forming in the eggs.
I’ve been privileged to gain an insider’s view to this wild baby-making world by my mother, who was an IVF nurse for over 15 years and now owns an egg donor agency that is partnering with an egg freezing bank. My mama’s been my fertility Yoda as I navigate this world, helping me dig beneath the surface pros and cons I find on the Internet, giving me the scoop on what the experts find to be the real benefits and risks of sticking lady eggs in a freezer.
So, you want more children (but not until you cross off a few more boxes), have to go through a treatment that will affect your pelvic region, or you just want the security of having some “freshies” in the bank just in case? Here are the pros and cons of the decision to freeze some eggs, procured from a pro (my mom) who has heard the real reasons people have opted for and against egg freezing.
The technology has improved.
As previously mentioned, egg freezing is now a polished process with greatly enhanced results. The freezing process used to use a slow freeze protocol where ice crystals commonly formed in the eggs, significantly reducing their quality. Vitrification (or fast freeze) is now used, minimizing the risk of the formation of egg-ruining crystals.
You don’t have to worry about the quality of your eggs diminishing after age 30.
The quality of eggs drops after age 30 and really drops after age 35, creating a higher risk of chromosomal abnormalities and miscarriage. But heck, there are a lot of things many women want to fit into those 35 years before having kids, or before having more kids. Preserving your young eggs buys you (because it’s not free) extra time to land the dream job, sail around the world (or maybe just down the coast), eat lots of soft cheese and lunch meat, or anything else you wish to do before nose diving into parenthood.
It reduces the stress of finding “The One.”
Hey girl, if you’re not already hitched to Mr. Awesome, you’re way too rad to settle for a “meh” guy just because your clock is getting louder. Having those adolescent eggs sitting pretty in an egg bank grants you the luxury of passing on the dude who won’t stop talking about how much he loves living with his mom or the champ who only texts you in emojis. Hold out for the winner you deserve, whose sperm could be the perfect match for your pretty frozen ladies.
Fertility treatments now have less of a stigma since “everyone is doing it.”
Utilizing modern medical technologies to conceive is no longer seen as a taboo path to parenthood, only to be talked about in embarrassed whispers — it’s now so valued and understood famous ladies like Chrissy Teigen, Nicole Kidman, Mariah Carey, and Jamie King are taking to the airwaves (or social media waves) to share their unconventional (but just as special) journey to baby.
Pregnancy is not guaranteed.
Having the eggs in the bank does not ensure your eventual withdrawal will elicit a baby. With time, there is an increased risk of developing health issues that would affect a healthy pregnancy, like high blood pressure, diabetes, fibroids, or endometriosis. It’s also no guarantee your partner’s swimmers will be up for the task of egg penetration. Help to minimize these potential barriers by ensuring you and your partner maintain a healthy lifestyle and receive regular medical checkups.
You’ll need to go under anesthesia.
The egg freezing process consists of stimulating the ovaries with hormones (via injections) that cause multiple eggs to be produced, retrieving the eggs through a quick procedure that requires you be under mild anesthesia, and the eggs being transported to a lab where they’ll be frozen.
I’ve been under anesthesia before and it was like taking a hazy walk through a candy cotton forest — strange, yet quite lovely. But, some women regard “going under” with great fear, and some are allergic to the medication commonly used for anesthesia. Consider your feelings about this before moving forward; if fear of anesthesia is holding you back, a fear release with a certified hypnotherapist could significantly help you.
It will cost you.
The egg retrieval (including the drugs) generally ranges from $13,000 to $15,000, the egg storage costs are $500 to $1,000 annually, and each round of IVF you’ll need to go through when you’re ready for the eggs to come back to mama range from $3,5000 to $5,000 (it’s impossible to predict how many rounds you’ll need to do). Some people laugh (in relief) at these numbers; I’m not one of them. Remember that house I mentioned wanting to buy? These numbers take a big ole bite out of my down payment. Mama has some thinking to do.
I already have a child and know with my full heart that I want another (maybe even two others — don’t tell my husband), but have had a bounty of new desires fill my plate in the past year that would be difficult to mix with a pregnancy. So, here I am, writing to you as a way to get to myself, the self that’s still not fully dedicated to storing some DNA in a freezer, but is interested in continuing to collect information to choose a path that works best for my family’s needs.