“Be nicer than necessary to everyone you meet. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.” ― Socrates
The biggest factor every woman needs to understand is that time is not on our side. That’s right, I said it … your age does matter at least from a fertility aspects it does. As women age carries the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities such as birth defects or disorders or even risk of miscarriage increases making it more difficult to have a healthy baby. The fact that you are even considering egg freezing right now already puts you ahead of the game. Think of egg freezing as a way to stop that biological clock and preserve the younger genetic version of yourself for the possibility to extend your childbearing years.
It is not like we just put our eggs on ice or in the freezer and say okay I did it. It is a process and not as simple as snapping our fingers. To get more specific and talk the same language, the process of egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation includes stimulating the ovaries (where the eggs are stored) with hormones (for 10 to 14 days) to enlarge and multiple the egg production to prepare for a retrieval process where the eggs are removed from the women’s body and worked with in a lab where they can be frozen successfully and thawed at a later date or time in the future.
Why would a woman opt to freeze her eggs? Well the reasons can vary. One reason could be if a woman is faced with health risks such as cancer during her fertility years. Cancer can significantly decrease the chances of women being able to have a healthy baby in the future. Cancer treatments are harsh on the reproductive system. Some women are forced into the choice of egg freezing or creating embryos for medical reasons like cancer to avoid the loss of involuntary childlessness. Cancer, radiation, chemo, and these harsh drugs associated with cancer can leave both men and woman barren or unable to conceive a child later. Freezing their genetics is the only way to preserve and save their fertility.
Some women choose to freeze their eggs because they don’t have a partner or significant other to start a family with. Women are busier these days then ever before. Many women have goals, thing they want to accomplish like school or career before children enter the mix. Delaying motherhood or having children later in life is the new norm. There seems to be a shift as motherhood is being rescheduled or deferred in order to focus on other important factors in a women’s life. Birth control prevents us from becoming young mothers, now egg freezing helps us become older ones.
Personally, I think delaying motherhood until I feel more ready and prepared for children is a very attractive option. It is no secret that over a year ago Facebook and Apple announced their Company Benefit Program would include covering the costs of egg freezing (up to $20,000 for the procedure) for their employees. I only wish more companies would consider also contributing or providing women with these options.
That’s great you say, but what does it cost and how successful or invasive of a procedure? Now obviously these procedures come with a price, but the benefits far out way the costs or risk. Preventive medicine procedures are completely under valued. You may or may not use it, you never know, but guarantee if you do need to use it, you will be beyond glad and thankful you have it!
What is the average or best age a women can freeze her eggs? There is no perfect age and every woman is different, but obviously younger the better genetically speaking. Personally, I think late 20s or early 30s has the most upside and is the ideal timing for multiple reasons. You have given yourself in your 20s time to figure yourself out. You are now more mature in your 30s. Have a clearer view of what you want. We have established ourselves better financially. Maybe even had a few relationships under your belt to see if any of them could last the test of time. If we still find ourselves back where we started at this point, then now is the time to freeze our eggs. In addition the back end cost such as annual storage fees are now minimized over time to when they could actually be used while our eggs quality on average still have good odds in late 20s to early 30s. The key is to start planning for egg freezing in your early 20s like you would with your 401K Plan or financial planning.
Public opinion of the egg freezing procedure has become more socially acceptable. Women are starting to talk about these choices with each other, family, and friends more openly. Today we are not ashamed if fertility was involved to help create our families. And why should we be? Who really cares “how” we create our families? I think as we get older we start to realize how little others’ opinions on our choices really matter. So even if your support system is not on board with you in these choices, you can always find people or community who will be. You are not alone.
Join the conversation and tell us what do you think? We would like to know. Do you wish your company offered egg freezing as part of the benefits package? Do you think egg freezing benefits shorten the gap between gender equality? How do you feel about the gender equality gap closing? Should insurance companies be mandated to pay or cover egg freezing like birth control? Do you think this would help women within the work place or are there still other family matters such as maternity/paternity leave and childcare services that should be addressed first? Do you have any ideas for solutions that companies should consider?