Whether you want kids in the somewhat distant future or you’re still not sure where you stand on the idea of being a mom, it might be worth it to consider freezing your eggs just in case. Time flies!
There are lots of good reasons to wait to have a family. You may not have found the right partner yet, you might be more focused on your career, or you could be in a tough spot financially. You might also not be mentally ready or aren’t sure if you even want kids. There’s nothing wrong with choosing not to have children, but if there’s a chance you could change your mind, you might want to think about what your options will be if you wait too long. Freezing your eggs may be a good backup plan.
People are starting families later and later. The average age of a woman when she has her first child has steadily increased since the 1980s. The CDC reported that the mean age of first time moms was 24.9 years old in 2000, 25.2 years old in 2009, and 26.3 years old in 2014. The rise in age is attributed to the decrease in teen pregnancy and the increase in women having their first child when they’re older. There’s nothing wrong with waiting, but there are risks.
Egg freezing is beneficial because your fertility decreases with age. The younger you are, the better your chances are of conceiving a child. Once a woman reaches age 35, her fertility starts to decline. Male fertility decreases with age too, although not as soon or as drastically. That’s why egg freezing, AKA oocyte cryopreservation, may be a great Plan B if you’re not ready for kids right now.
You don’t want to wait too long to do it. The quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs decrease with age, so the younger your frozen eggs are, the better chance you have at conceiving when you decide to use them. However, freezing them too young and keeping eggs in storage too long might lower your success rate. Don’t stress out about it, but if you’re thinking about saving your eggs, then you should try to do it before you’re 35 when your egg quality will start to go down.
It’ll give you peace of mind. Freezing your eggs buys you time if you don’t want kids in the near future. Although there’s no guarantee that your frozen eggs will give you a successful pregnancy, you’ll at least have options later in life and you can worry less about your biological clock. It can lessen the pressure you feel to start a family as soon as possible.
It gives you time to prepare. Whatever your reason is for not having kids right now, if you freeze your eggs, you’ll have more time to focus on other things that you want to accomplish or take care of before you have children. For instance, you can focus on getting your career established or you can work on becoming more financially stable.
There are other circumstances in life when it may be a good idea too. There are other things that could happen that might make freezing your eggs a good idea. For example, cancer treatments and other medical conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome can greatly reduce fertility. If you freeze your eggs, you’ll have a backup plan if you’re unable to get pregnant in the future because of unfortunate circumstances like this.
The process isn’t simple or cheap but it is worth it for many women. It can cost thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for the treatments and egg storage fees. However, some insurance companies might cover some of the cost. Also, the egg retrieval and freezing processes are complicated and not guaranteed to work or go smoothly. For example, it may take multiple rounds to get enough eggs to freeze. Then they have to be frozen and stored in perfect conditions. When you’re ready to use them, the eggs have to be thawed properly and injected successfully with sperm to be fertilized. The surviving embryos are implanted into your uterus by IVF, which has about a 40% success rate at most. But even though it might not work out in the end, it can still give you options when otherwise you would’ve had none.
You’ll be prepared no matter what you decide in the future. There’s nothing as depressing as not being able to conceive a child when you decide you want one. I’ve been through infertility and I’d do anything I could to maximize my chances of conceiving. That’s why even if you don’t want kids right this minute, you might want to someday, and you’ll be so glad you have the option of using your frozen eggs. Trust me, it’s totally worth it if you’re able to do it.
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