From Stirrups to the Classroom: Step 2 In My Egg Freezing Process
I’ve shared the 5 reasons why I decided to freeze my eggs and the success rate stats that go along with it. I blogged about my initial screening at the fertility doctor’s office, now I’m documenting the process for those of you who are curious or thinking about doing the same…
When you freeze your eggs, it’s more than just a few trips to the doctor and a fun anesthesia party. There are so many chores and details involved that you actually have to take a two-hour class to learn them all.
Mine takes place in a conference room with four other women. They show up looking more prepared than honor students. They have already launched excel spreadsheets on their laptops. They are not interested in my lighthearted pre-class banter. They are focused, determined, and clearly more than a little bit stressed out. These women seem to actually want babies NOW.
The instructor waddles in under an armload of paperwork, which she struggles to distribute to each of us. She is an older Russian woman named Svetlana, and wears an expression like a disapproving Olympic gymnastics coach.
“Keep in mind, girls,” she begins. “You are not infertile. You are freezing your eggs.”
Four hands shoot into the air at once, which is a formality because everyone starts talking at once without waiting to be called on.
“I started my period yesterday--
“I’m on the pill and I need to keep taking the pill for another two weeks because we are going to France—“
“I quit the pill two months ago and I still haven’t gotten my period shouldn’t you be giving me some progesterone?”
Svetlana isn’t having it. “Ladies! De folder in front of you has your schedule. You each have deeferent schedule. Dis is not a race. Now I go over de basics.”
Slowly, efficiently, and commandingly, she spends half an hour breaking down the most important information.
1. Normally, during each menstrual cycle you produce one egg on one ovary. The idea of this process is to make you produce multiple eggs on BOTH ovaries. These will be retrieved surgically by the doctor, and examined carefully for any flaws. Only the viable eggs will be frozen. The number of eggs they end up freezing is usually lower than the number they actually pull out of you. But, Svetlana warns, pointing an accusatory index finger, “Many womens comes to freeze eggs. Very few comes to unfreeze dem.”
2. To achieve this, you will need to inject yourself with a variety of medications. There is Follistim, to make the eggs grow. Some ladies will take Menopure, which is like food for the eggs. Antagon will hold the eggs in place and keep them growing. Finally, Ovidrel will make you release the eggs so the doctor can suck them up into a little syringe during your anesthesia party. If you are “stimulating exceptionally well,” says Svetlana, you will take something called Lupron. A particularly competitive looking lady raises her hand to clarify what it means to “stimulate exceptionally well.” She clearly plans to do so.
2a. The egg retrieval is also known as “The Harvest.” I keep accidentally calling it “The Reaping.”
3. Your ovaries are small structures hanging in your belly. As the drugs cause the eggs to enlarge, you will feel some pressure. It is crucial that you do not exercise or engage in any bouncing movement during this time or, Svetlana says “You gonna end up in de emergency room in de vorst pain of your life.”