Many women today are putting off having children until later in life. Some do so because they haven’t found the right mate, to pursue an education or establish themselves in their careers. A growing number of women are comfortable making that choice because they have the option of freezing their eggs to preserve their fertility. Freezing a woman’s eggs uses a process called cryopreservation. It allows women to preserve their young, healthy eggs and then they can thaw them and have children at a later time.
Medical Fertility Preservation
Many people see egg freezing as a viable and acceptable option when a woman has some medical condition that prevents her from becoming pregnant during her prime reproductive years. Freezing her eggs until she is healed is seen as a wise and understandable course of action. Many see this as the perfect use of egg freezing technology. It gives women an opportunity to reproduce that would otherwise be lost through no fault of her own.
Non-Medical Egg Freezing
When women freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons, some people are up in arms. They consider it a disturbing trend that some women freeze their egg so they can find the right mate, further their education, pursue their career goals and become financially stable before choosing to have children. Some see this as a selfish misuse of egg freezing technology. However, some American companies like Apple and Facebook not only support the right of a woman to postpone having children while they further their careers, they offer to pay for the procedure for their female employees.
A Woman’s Right
Most women feel they have a right to control when, where and how they reproduce. They view anyone seeking to limit their reproductive choices as overstepping their bounds. They feel no one should have the power to make that decision for them. The decisions a woman makes about her reproductive health and using the options available to her are intensely personal. Most women agree they should be the only ones empowered to make those decisions.
Why Egg Freezing Is Becoming More Popular
The age at which women first become pregnant has risen dramatically over the decades. The widespread use of birth control has enabled women to be sexually active without the risk of becoming pregnant. This has largely given women the power to choose when they want to get pregnant.
The introduction of egg freezing has taken a huge amount of pressure off of them. Many feel they are no longer forced to bear a child with just any man because of their ‘ticking biological clock’. According to a recent study, most women who freeze their eggs do so because they are unable to find a suitable partner, but want to be able to have a child in the future when they do.
The Pros Of Egg Freezing
Having the ability to freeze their eggs provides women with a number of benefits. It offers enhanced reproductive freedom while reducing the time pressure to get pregnant. It increases gender equality in pursuing educational and employment opportunities. It also gives women the possibility of having a genetically-related child later in life if she cannot find the right partner at the current time.
Egg freezing enables women who cannot currently become pregnant because of illness or injury to be able to have a child at a later date. Being able to freeze some of their eggs gives women hope and reduces the need to have oocyte donors. Plus, pregnancies from frozen eggs have the same rate of normal, healthy births and obstetrical problems and natal abnormalities as those from fresh eggs.
Cons Of Egg Freezing
There are some downsides to women having access to egg freezing. It leads to some women ignoring their decline in fertility and reproductive health after age 35 and inaccurately assuming IVF will enable them to overcome the effects of aging. The process also presents some medical risks to the woman.
While there have been strides made in making egg freezing more affordable, the cost is still a major factor that makes women reconsider the procedure. Plus, there’s increased anxiety, pressure on women to put off having children and the commercial exploitation of women deemed good candidates for egg freezing.
Other Important Factors
For optimal results from egg freezing, women should freeze 20 eggs before age 37. They must also understand the procedure requires weeks of self-injections, egg removal under sedation, sperm injection and medication to support the egg transfer and pregnancy.
Fortunately, the methodology keeps on improving and the process in now four times as likely to be successful as in the past. However, before deciding to freeze their eggs, women must consider their age, the IVF center’s experience and expertise, the likelihood of success, as well as the physical and psychological risks associated with the procedure. Fertility is precious and women must use it wisely to decide when and why to have children.