Egg freezing, would I do it again?
Because of my blog series on freezing my eggs in my early thirties a lot of people have contacted me over the years, some friends and some strangers. Some of these are people considering freezing their own eggs, others are going through a fertility journey where egg extraction is likely in the cards. They happen to all be women, and due to the nature of their questions, they are women who have the choice and ability to spend tens of thousands of dollars for procedures American society has largely deemed elective. They have the most resources of any women on the planet. Their futures are full of possibility, finding love with partners, creating a family, perhaps either, perhaps neither.
I’m in my late thirties now and have two wonderful children, ages 1 and 3, together with my husband who I had only dated for a few weeks back when I froze my eggs. My family is complete. I never used the eggs I froze. They sit in a freezer and I pay $500/year for storage.
Another woman, an acquaintance, successful, six figure salary, late thirties is calling me this weekend for advice. Should she freeze her eggs, she asks? What would I advise my younger self?
These are two separate questions I want to say.
Yes, she should freeze her eggs, I would tell my acquaintance.
No, don’t freeze your eggs I would tell my younger self: just have a baby, any which way.
Yes she should freeze her eggs. I answer. She’s thinking about the question, she’s well resourced, there’s no better time than today, get off the phone and make the appointment. It comes with risks, fertility always does. But if the question is between waiting and acting, act.
And as for my 31 year old self? I tell her don’t freeze your eggs. That motherhood is transformative, the physicality of it included. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding. That infertility is more than a monetary downside, but an emotional torture road with an indeterminate end. That my kids, these kids, are never something I’d undo and going through any of that alone would be the smallest of prices to pay, from my well resourced purse. That I’d seen too many women angst about decisions like this until the decision has been made for them, all while they had the financial resources to build a life with a child far more privileged and easy than a traditional 1950s housewife in a nuclear family. That the upsides of birthing a human were far greater and downsides to not far worse than I ever could have imagined, baby me. That frozen eggs were less of an insurance policy and more of yet another way to potentially guarantee I’d never get to see this branch of reality, the one where I journeyed to become a mother, the one with my kids.
I got lucky and found someone to come along for the ride, who happens to also be a soulmate and life partner, and wonderful father, at exactly the right place and right time in my life. But imagine if I had not been so lucky? Would I want to also ensure that I didn’t have my kids on top of all that? Yet I can’t credibly recommend starting off motherhood without a partner to anyone except my past self, because that hypothetical never happened. I don’t really know that other branch of reality. Only that this one is far more important to me than my younger self could have known.
Just have a baby I’d say to baby rich me.
Just freeze your eggs I say to my baby rich friend. And while you’re at it, what about talking to a recent single mom by choice, about your age and career level? See what advice they have and let me know, I say. I’m curious.