In our high-pressure society, there’s so much emphasis on obtaining a college degree and immediately entering the workforce with a focus on finding monetary success that for many people, the option of having a child naturally can take a backseat to other endeavors.
Since 2012, the process of harvesting and cryogenically freezing eggs has become increasingly more popular as a viable choice for the busy modern woman who wants to protect their chances of bearing a child later. However, when it costs anywhere from $5,000 to $14,000 to have one cycle of eggs prepared, harvested and frozen, it’s important to be informed about the procedure.
- It works better for younger women. Your eggs are most viable when you are in your 20’s to early 30’s. Over the age of 35, your harvested eggs have a higher chance of having chromosomal damage and are less likely to get fertilized when you are ready to start your family.
- Harvesting eggs takes time. The overall procedure takes several weeks. First, you receive hormonal injections for a couple of weeks to mature your eggs. During that process, you may face emotional stress and weight gain, depending on your body’s response to the hormones. Physicians will conduct blood tests and ultrasounds to determine when harvesting occur. Finally, you can expect to be anesthetized for the extraction of the eggs from your body.
- The eggs might break. Every step of the entire process puts the fragile eggs in danger of being damaged. Whether during the harvesting process, the flash freezing or the thawing procedure, there’s no guarantee that one, some, or all the eggs will survive and be ready for fertilization.
- Your body still ages. All the difficulties of facing pregnancy later in life still apply. For example, there is a higher chance of miscarriage or developing other pregnancy-related complications such as high-blood pressure, diabetes and eclampsia. You will have to prepare yourself for those potential outcomes.
It might be the perfect option for you. Ultimately, freezing eggs is a viable option for the woman seeking to place her biological clock on pause while she pursues another goal. It is not a guaranteed procedure, but certainly can offer a choice when the demands of the professional world have taken over for the time being.
If you work in a company with a supportive environment, it may be worth having a conversation about what kind of support you can expect to receive as a parent and explore all your available options to find the perfect balance of work and family for you.