Despite what social pressures may lead us to believe, there’s no magical age when it comes to getting pregnant and starting a family. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was 27. For me, it felt like the perfect age — I wasn’t too young and I wasn’t too old, either. Plus, by starting in my twenties, I figured I had plenty of time to give my baby siblings down the road. My husband and I were married for two years first, with stable jobs and a decent amount of savings in the bank. The timing felt more than just right.
That said, once my daughter arrived, things got complicated. As a freelance writer, I don’t work full-time in an office. And if I did, I couldn’t commit to being a full-time mom at home in the way I do now. Many years (and one kid) later, I’m honestly still trying to figure out this whole work-life balance thing, and how that plays into my role as a mother. And I’m certainly not alone.
For many couples, the question over when to start a family — and how it might impact their career paths in the process — is fraught with many what ifs. According to New York Magazine, that’s also the reason why so many millennial couples are now choosing to freeze their eggs, so they can put parenting on hold while they chase their corporate dreams.
It’s called “elective freezing,” and has become so popular that there are actually boutique egg freezing clinics in big cities all across the country that cater to couples who’d like to delay parenthood a bit longer. One such clinic, Extend Fertility, is located in midtown Manhattan in New York City, where it’s solely focused on removing and storing a woman’s eggs, as opposed to just treating infertility and offering in-vitro fertilization.
During the egg freezing process, a patient undergoes the same hormone-injection process as they would during in-vitro fertilization. The only difference is that following egg retrieval, they are frozen for a period of time before they’re thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.
According to New York Magazine, the “boutique” clinics also solve another issue: Many women who choose this process have expressed mixed emotions about going to a clinic where other women are actively trying to get pregnant. Some even say it makes them feel selfish for wanting to put motherhood on hold while seeing others struggle to conceive at the same time.
As Martin Varsavsky, an entrepreneur who raised over $200 million for his fertility start-up, told the mag:
“It’s sort of like we are customizing the experience for young working women who want to get in and out. These are not women who are traumatized because they can’t have a child.”
Makes sense, right?
As hard as the work-life equation is, I can’t say that I wish I had waited longer before having children myself. I’ve always told my friends and family that when my children are old enough to take care of their physical needs on their own, I’ll go back to work full-time. There’s no such thing as “too late.”
But my own experience aside, I do see how freezing your eggs can make the timing a little easier, in a whole lot of ways. And for single women entering their thirties, I can certainly see how the idea of egg freezing is especially appealing, because it gives them more time to find the right partner without having to worry about their ticking biological clocks. After all, peak fertility years do coincide with our peak career-building ones — for better or worse. But hey, if there’s a way to extend those years (and take off a little stress in the process), then I say, why not?