After learning about this website, a small group of women in their early 30s recently launched into a spirited conversation about their reproductive future. Two of the women are married, one is single, one announced she had already made the decision to remain childfree for life and the fifth is thinking about it. The focus of the chatter: to freeze or not to freeze?
The average age of a patient undergoing the procedure to preserve unfertilized eggs is 35.9. Preparing to open a new business, one woman told me she frets about her fertility “all the time” and has no idea when she might be ready to try for a baby. There were laughs all around as another confided that she might stash her eggs “just to shut my mother up.”
For these women and others like them, what used to be a quiet little secret is now publicly discussed, and accepted. It was noted that before her unplanned, surprise pregnancy, media darling Kim Kardashian had begun the process, giving it the ultimate celeb approval.
In another move toward mainstreaming, in October 2012, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) concluded that freezing women’s eggs to treat infertility should no longer be considered “experimental.” That action opens the door for possible insurance coverage to help with the expense of $6,500 to more than $15,000.
Older NotMoms remember when egg-freezing (clinical term: oocyte cryopreservation) was indeed a risky idea, even as it offered a welcome option to women whose religious faith forbids freezing the embryo itself.
In December 2012, Psychology Today shared the story of a woman in her 50s who spent more than 8 years in repeated attempts at IVF that eventually resulted in miscarriage. “Like many women who have difficulty conceiving children past 35, she never expected it would happen to her.” Her advice:
“If a young woman had the resources and had serious career ambitions, I would advise her to take this step. I know several women who learned they were in perimenopause at 35.”
What may be lost in the “everybody’s doing it” frenzy is that ASRM emphasizes that there’s no guarantee that long-term cryopreservation will always result in a successful pregnancy and healthy baby. Nevertheless, in our little “focus group the general conclusion was that an uncertain Plan B is better than no Plan B at all.