The woman—we’ll call her Reese—was never one of those girls who knew she wanted to be a mom. But at 26, she fell in love with a father of two girls. She loved watching her boyfriend with his daughters, calling them beautiful and making them pancakes. On a trip to Disneyland, she marveled at how good it felt to be part of a family, tucked in the spinning-teacup ride, all turning the wheel in the same direction.
But two years later, Reese and her boyfriend broke up. She began to contemplate the future. Now 28, she’s busy running an ad company in Las Vegas. “It takes time to get to know someone before marriage, and I want to enjoy being married for a while,” she says. A former nurse, she knew birth defects rise with age. “I thought, I’m at peak fertility. If I can save these eggs at their prime, I have to.”
Reese flew to Los Angeles and asked fertility doctor John Jain, MD, to freeze her eggs. She put $12,500 on her debit card. Dr. Jain ordered the hormones that she would inject to make her eggs develop so they could be surgically removed and frozen until she was ready to use them, potentially well into her 50s.
In the beginning, the drugs made her euphoric. Ten days later, her stomach throbbed from being punctured so many times. But after Dr. Jain retrieved 15 eggs, she felt a new peace of mind. “This was something that helped me take control of my life,” she says. “I can continue to focus on my company now and let love happen in its own time.”
Only a few years ago, Reese had joked with colleagues about freezing their eggs. It seemed so futuristic and extreme, not something women actually did. Well, now they do. Last fall, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine removed the procedure’s experimental label. Interest has surged, and women are thinking of freezing younger when eggs are higher quality, says Christy Jones, founder of Extend Fertility, an egg-freezing referral service. Freeze before age 35 and you could have about a 59 percent chance of getting pregnant each try; by 41, it can be as low as 21 percent.
In a Cosmopolitan.com survey of 740 women, nearly half of you said you’d consider freezing eggs because “it gives women valuable time and flexibility.” Ninety percent said you should freeze before 36, and one-third called 25 the right age. “The mentality of freezers is changing,” says Jones. “It’s a different story when your back is up against the wall. But the younger women say, ‘It’s so empowering. It’s liberating. It’s a great backup.'”
But if egg freezing is so empowering, why won’t Reese give her real name? She worries that not everyone will see it the way she does. They’ll think. . .Contact SMF Today