Freezing the Biological Clock [videos and text]

As egg freezing is lifted from the experimental phase and becoming more mainstream, many women are choosing to preserve their fertility and delay motherhood.

Keeping Her Options Available

Shana undergoes egg freezing at age 38 because recently starting her own business from the ground up coincides with the rest of her reproductive years.

Women and Medical Professionals Weigh In

Various women, doctors and an embryologist discuss the logistics of egg freezing.

In an era of women taking over high-achieving jobs and surpassing men in obtaining advanced degrees, motherhood sometimes takes a backseat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first birth rates of women 35 years and older has increased more than fivefold since 1970. There are certainly ways for women to balance the work-family life, but many are looking to delay fertility in light of the new technology available.

Women are turning to oocyte cryopreservation, or egg freezing, as a solution.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) declared egg freezing no longer experimental in 2012 due to a new technology used called vitrification, “which is almost like a flash-freezing of the eggs,” according to Cris Karl, senior embryologist at West Coast Fertility. The eggs go on the tip of a vitri-straw vessel and are enclosed and dunked into liquid nitrogen to be frozen.

Egg freezing recently made the front page of news sites and peoples’ social media feeds when companies like Apple and Facebook declared that they would offer it as a benefit to female employees.

With egg freezing becoming increasingly mainstream, it makes sense that more and more women are opting to get it done.

Shana, a recent University of Southern California MBA graduate and entrepreneur, is 38 years old and in the second round of the procedure. This means she went through the process once and is going through it a second time to get more eggs frozen. She had the procedure done at West Coast Fertility Center, and says that egg freezing really gave her a piece of mind.

“Freezing my eggs just took that weight off my mind,” she explains. “It was a big load off that I could put these away and then come back in five years when I may or may not still be able to have a baby naturally, or even ten years when I most definitely won’t be able to have a baby naturally, and still have that option.”

She can stop worrying about when and if she wants kids and focus on her business, Top That Chocolate, which is a full-time endeavor. This made the procedure – hefty cost and recovery period included – worth it to her.

Shana explains that her family and friends, and especially her boyfriend, were all very supportive of her decision to get this done. In fact, many of her friends became interested in freezing their eggs upon learning that Shana had done it.

Amanda Janesick has her PhD in developmental and molecular biology and says, “Development and reproductive success is constantly in my face. It would be difficult not to extrapolate my research to my own biology.”

She had her eggs frozen in 2013, but says that it confused her family and friends because she’s not a planner and lives in the moment. They didn’t understand why someone like her would undergo a procedure that focuses on the future and planning.

“But, actually being a non-planner was inspiration to keep doors open so I could prepare for any eventuality,” Janesick explains.

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