Freezing your eggs is a great way to avoid settling on the wrong guy
One of my girlfriends just turned 31 and she's freaking out. This girl is one of the most professionally impressive women I've ever met. She's a total badass… except when it comes to dating. Ever since she hit 30, she's been all over her dating apps, going out with any guy she can find in the attempt to land a serious boyfriend. She can hear her ovaries calling: Fertilize the eggs! I need a baby!
Tick, tock goes the biological clock and the party will most definitely stop.
Egg freezing allows a woman to hit pause at her prime, until (and if) she decides to be a mother
Women are getting married later. We're focusing on our careers, determining what we want out of life, and getting our ducks in a row before we consider becoming wives and (gasp!) mothers.
The problem? The female body isn't waiting. Your fertility is not going to chill out just because you've decided to take some extra years. This is why egg freezing is so phenomenal: It suspends everything in time.
Kristen Mancinelli, Extend Fertility's director of partnerships and education, says the ideal age for said time suspension is younger than you might expect. "It's a good thing for women to think about as early as their mid-20s as a proactive way to preserve their options for if or when they are ready to have children," she says.
So if you're thinking about giving yourself egg freezing as a gift on your 35th birthday, you might want to reconsider.
The price tag for egg freezing is dropping
In the past, women who wanted to freeze their eggs were up against a hefty price tag. Not only was the procedure expensive, but you then had to rent out space in a lab for your eggs to live. When you're already paying rent for an apartment, this is a major deterrent from taking the plunge.
Luckily, there are other options. Today there are fertility clinics solely devoted to egg freezing, which greatly reduces the cost. At Extend Fertility, the prices for egg freezing are half of the normal cost, making it more manageable for us hardworking ladies.
The process is minimally invasive, with few side effects
While Extend is a relatively new clinic, Mancinelli says the primary goal is to educate women about their bodies, their options, and the reality of the process.
"We have found that many women lack opportunities to learn about fertility, and interest in our educational materials is high," she says.
"We know that not every woman who walks in our door will want to freeze her eggs, or will be a good candidate for it." Mancinelli explains that the preliminary "stimulation phase," when a woman injects herself with hormones, can be painful. But she says the process is actually more annoying than anything else, as "the needles are very thin and are injected into the fatty tissue around the belly."
As for the transvaginal ultrasound exams, Mancinelli says they aren't painful but can be "slightly uncomfortable because of their nature. In terms of side effects, the hormone medication may cause bloating and cramps, because it has the ovaries working overtime. The 10- to 15-minute procedure to retrieve the eggs is under anesthesia and patients don't feel a thing. They may experience some pain upon waking up such as a little soreness in the vaginal area; or some abdominal cramping. It's similar to how a woman might feel when getting her period."
There's been some chatter around the idea that egg freezing can increase a woman's likelihood of getting ovarian or breast cancers. But Dr. Joshua U. Klein, Extend Fertility's chief clinical officer, says there is no evidence to support these claims.
"The more subtle point is that infertile women who go thru IVF, and thereby use fertility meds, might have an increased risk of this quasi-cancer," he says. "But the prevailing wisdom and the data support the notion that this association, if it is real or true, is more likely related to the condition of their infertility and not related to the medications themselves."
You're about as likely to conceive using your frozen eggs as you are using donor eggs. Mancinelli says fertilizing donor or previously frozen eggs yields similar rates of success.
"Researchers have looked at studies on freezing eggs from young egg donors and subsequently thawing them for another woman's in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment," she says. "One of the best studies assigned 600 couples to use either fresh donor eggs or frozen donor eggs for IVF. The results demonstrated equivalent pregnancy success rates for both sets of couples, regardless of whether they used fresh or frozen donor eggs."
Freezing her eggs ultimately gives a woman another level of freedom of choice
Giving women a one-up on the biological clock is giving us our freedom back. There are far too many women who settle for guys who are nowhere near good enough for the fear of losing the ability to have children. That's why egg freezing is so amazing for single women.
"Many women just say the pressure is off and they can focus on other things," Mancinelli says. "It varies as to what those things are, but there are certain themes: finding the right partner, getting to a certain place in their career, or just having time to become ready to have a child."
The older a woman gets, the less likely it is that we can have healthy, strong babies. And when you have that kind of fear in the back of your mind, you're likely to have problems choosing Mr. Right. Instead, too many women settle for Mr. Let's-Get-Pregnant-Right-Now. If you can freeze your eggs, taking away the one thing that can hold you back from waiting for the right life partner, you're opening yourself up to the rest of your life.