Egg freezing: freedom or burden?

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Sun 04/27/2014

woman It seems that the average woman today has many choices regarding the life she wants to live and choices about baby-making just get more complicated as options increase.
New York City-based writer Sarah Elizabeth Richards is typical. “Having children was an ongoing question in our relationship, so while we were together, I decided to freeze my eggs, just in case,” said Richards recalling her last significant relationship. “I figure that by the time I would start my family – either with him or someone new – I would be paying for fertility treatments anyway, so why not freeze my younger, healthier eggs now?”

Why not, indeed

It seems a simple solution to a common problem, but after spending $50,000 for the ability to wait, but no guarantee of a baby, she, like other young women, created larger issued that need to be addressed. For many young women who see this path – years of career development followed by years of searching for a partner ending at a time when her fertility is reduced – these young women don’t have the extra $20,000 to $50,000 to try and preserve fertility. One egg freezing can cost $10,000 and is not covered by insurance. One single egg is rarely recommended. Annual fees to maintain the frozen egg are about $500 to $1000. Younger eggs yield better odds of a live birth.

Having eggs on standby can create anxieties

In a survey in Bloomberg Weekly, half the young women who froze their eggs described it as “empowering and anxiety producing”. The anxieties are centered around egg viability and how the frozen eggs might alter a relationship. “There’s also a danger in frozen eggs as an insurance policy,” said Bethany Marshall, PhD. “It can create a fantasy of an endless timeline where women think, ‘If love doesn’t work out, I can always use my eggs.” This mindset can sometimes prevent women from coping with romantic issues or having a relationship in the first place.”

For every woman it’s a person choice with highly individual variables contributing to the answer. But any young woman seriously considering freezing her eggs should talk to as many people as possible before making the decision to get an idea of the full impact of having her fertility extended in this way.

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