Do YOU Need to Freeze Your Eggs?
Check out this awesome fear-mongering fertility pitch I got at work. It’s an egg timer that says, “Your clock is ticking.” Get it? Adorable! It’s clearly not very scientific—I know I have more than 59 minutes left to get pregnant. But the point is loud and clear. I’m pushing my luck. Between your early to late thirties, there’s a steep drop in your chances of getting pregnant within a year of trying. A 65% drop by many estimates.
And what if you’re 40? Fertility drug manufacturers would like you to panic and reach for your wallet. Here are the numbers I found in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility: 40-year-old women treated for infertility only had a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant using their own eggs. By 44, you’re down to a mere 1.6 percent. And don’t even bother after 45 unless you have a Magical Uterus. (That last bit is not actually something An Expert said, I made that up.) Breed now or you are doomed.
Now that you’re good and nervous, you probably want to pick the phone up and make your first appointment. But hold up: the stats on egg freezing aren’t that convincing. It’s not just about freezing the eggs, you see. It’s about eventually turning eggs into babies. Worldwide, fewer than an estimated 2,000 people have been born from frozen eggs EVER, about 400 of them in the United States. (Compare that to the 4 million people born in the US each year.) There’s even some disagreement among fertility doctors about whether this procedure should be as common as botox, or whether it should be considered ‘still experimental.’
My doctor’s practice has been relatively successful in getting live babies out of frozen eggs. But check out how success is measured in this industry: my chosen team has “performed 52 cycles where both freezing and thawing have been completed.” And of those, 27 actual babies came out. That’s about as many people as I saw in the waiting room on my initial visit. Still, it’s a little better than a 50% success rate, right?
Apparently, given the choice between a $10,000 month-long cycle of complete hormonal upheaval (my insurance will cover about half—but that’s not common) and trusting that the universe will take care of things…well, I’m going to take that 50% chance, because at least I’ll feel like I’ve DONE something about it.
So what about you, do you need to freeze YOUR eggs? It depends on how much peace of mind a 50% chance would give you….basically it comes down to whether you’re a ‘petri dish half full’ or a ‘petri dish half empty’ kind of person.