You may have seen Facebook and Apple in the news a couple of months ago for their policies on egg freezing. I’m not talking about the eggs you buy at the grocery store, but the kind that make a baby. There are a lot of articles and debate about Apple and Facebook’s decision to provide assistance to women wishing to freeze their eggs. Whether it sends a message to women that they should delay childbirth to focus on their careers, etc. Personally, I applaud them. And I’ll tell you why.
A little over two years ago I made the decision to freeze my eggs. I was 36 at the time, a couple of years post-divorce and dating Jim. I felt my biological clock ticking. It was so loud I heard it each and every day. A lot of my friends already had children; some of them were even finished having kids. I wanted kids, but Jim wasn’t ready. I couldn’t blame him. Having a child is a big decision. I didn’t want to be a mom at 40 and didn’t want to adopt.
I had read an article on egg freezing earlier that year and decided to look into it further. At the time it was still a pretty new procedure, mostly reserved for women undergoing cancer treatments that wanted to preserve their fertility. Luckily, I found a doctor at Arizona Reproductive Medicine Specialists that was interested in it too. From our first meeting, he told me I was a pioneer. I didn’t believe it at the time, but I do now.
We met several times to discuss if I would be a good candidate for the procedure. I was healthy and preliminary tests indicated I had a good supply of healthy eggs remaining. Of course there was also the financial aspect to consider. Egg freezing was not covered by my insurance so all costs would be out of my own pocket. The expense is not insignificant; it was around $10,000 plus an additional $400 for annual storage costs. It’s basically the entire first part of an IVF treatment. The only difference is the eggs aren’t fertilized and implanted.
Jim and I had a lot of discussion about it. Should we freeze eggs, embryos or a combination of both (embryos have a higher success rate of surviving the unfreezing process)? In the end, we agreed freezing eggs was the best option for us. Having fairly recently gone through a divorce, I knew nothing in life or relationships was certain. I didn’t want to regret not having the option of trying to have a child if we were to break up. We did agree to split the cost of the procedure. I think it was our way of showing we were in it together.
I worried about the side effects of the drugs. I heard stories of awful bloating, bruising from the shots, emotional swings, etc. I was fortunate that I didn’t really experience any of these. I had to have daily shots in my belly or bum for around two weeks and Jim was a great nurse!
I reported to the doctor’s office most mornings for monitoring to see how the eggs were developing. I only told a few people at work, including my very supportive manager at the time. I was able to schedule my monitoring appointments in the morning so most people didn’t even know anything was going on. When the eggs were mature, the procedure was scheduled for the following day. I’ll admit I was a little scared when I arrived. Come to find out, there was a hospital like area in the back of the office I’d been coming to each morning for the last two weeks! In the end, 18 eggs were retrieved and 14 of them were viable for freezing. They’ve been kept frozen for the past two years. At first we talked about them a lot…our little frozen eggs waiting for us to use them. I cannot express how much relief I felt. I went from thinking about my ticking biological clock each day to living my life.
In the end, we didn’t need to use them. It’s still amazing to me because I never thought it would happen, but I got pregnant with little luv naturally. I wouldn’t change my decision though; I’d still do it again today. I’ve been fond of saying “one and done” lately, but you never know. Maybe we’ll use them two years from now and I’ll be having a baby at 40 just like I said I didn’t want to do!
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t believe women will put off having children for their career just because their employer offers it as a benefit. Life happens. I thought I’d have kids by the time I was 30. That wasn’t the path I was meant to take. I was fortunate I was in a position that I could afford to freeze my eggs. In my view, companies such as Apple and Facebook are progressive. Too many companies don’t even cover basic fertility treatments. Egg freezing is another fertility option. If money weren’t a concern, maybe I would have done it even earlier.
If anyone wants more information about my experience, I’m happy to answer any questions. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.