Egg-freezing is trendy now for career gals! Yes, that actual phrase has been used in some of the media for egg-freezing parties. Cause it’s 1953 and we all work in the secretarial pool.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that anything that makes it more affordable and raises awareness of options is great. I guess I’m just annoyed at the lady-to-sister-lady “hey, girl!”’ coverage. Or maybe I’m just jealous, because they weren’t around when I got my own eggs frozen and it failed miserably.
Too harsh? Judging my own reproductive system’s reaction to being pumped artificially with hormones and not responding ideally? Probably.
I grew up always just knowing I’d have kids. It was a given. Not so much some sort of social or family pressure, it was just always something I knew would happen. The same way I’d read Sweet Valley High and know that I was gonna be a cool teen the moment my 16th birthday approached and get a Fiat Spider and cruise around with my nonexistent twin sister. I imagined keeping all of my books and giving them to my kid and how psyched they’d be. By the time I was 27 (the age my mom was when she had me) when I passed a baby on the street, my system went haywire and I knew I had to either birth that baby or consume its face piece by cutie-pie piece.
Fast-forward to my 30s. I’m not in a great position relationship or job-wise to have a kid at the moment. But somehow in New York City 2014, it feels embarrassing to admit you really, really want children. I do comedy! I’m independent! My biological clock will stop to allow these things to happen, cause I’m cool enough. Weirdly, time continued to move on while my baby-readiness didn’t. I had to actually come to terms with the fact that I might not be ready to have a kid while it was still relatively easy to have one biologically. I sucked up all my weird feelings about it and went to a reproductive endocrinologist.
Yes, it’s expensive. I went into my savings and back into credit card debt when it ended up that all of the meds involved were way more than I thought. One thing they neglected to mention is that it might take extra days or a week beyond your initial schedule and the drugs can cost $400/day. You will be injecting yourself multiple times per day, so if you are squeamish about needles, that is not for you.
When I sat there with vials and syringes and alcohol swabs laid out in front of me, I couldn’t believe I was being entrusted with this. THIS WAS GROWN-UP STUFF. What if I fucked it up?
And I was terrified that I was. Because despite being told repeatedly I was frighteningly fertile for my age, and wondering how I’d avoided accidental pregnancy before this, everything went sloooowww. My eggs just weren’t really developing. I got to watch their (lack of) progress every couple of days on the ultrasound monitor and feel like a failure. “We don’t know why it happens. It could just be this cycle and be fine next time. Next time we can adjust the protocol.”
Except, there wasn’t going to be a next time for me. No way I could afford doing this over again and putting myself through it.
Finally, my eggs had puffed up (technical term) enough for sucking. I was going to be knocked out and a delightfully long needle stuck up there to aspirate the eggs. I grew up with all kinds of health issues and am used to needles but I can imagine for most people this is actually a lot more horrible. It only took about half an hour and I woke up woozy and bleeding from my lady-parts. Despite that, after all the work, I was super-practical. First thing I said was “HOW MANY DID THEY GET?” “Two.”
Two. Two is awful. Two is not even worth it. For perspective, average with the procedure is 8 to 15. With IVF, it takes an average of 20 eggs to result in a pregnancy. Two is maybe not even enough for one cycle, depending on the woman’s age. “What are the next steps?!” I asked like a deranged project manager, before being told to “just rest.”
I went home and slept. Woke up around 2am and puked my guts out as a reaction to the anesthesia, which is apparently common after surgery, more so in women, non-smokers, and those who have just had gynecological surgery. Another thing it would have been nice to know more about beforehand.
Chances are, I won’t have the time or money to do it again before it stops making sense to age-wise.
Do I regret it? That’s a bit like asking if you regret a relationship because it didn’t work out, when you couldn’t have known the results beforehand. I do wish that I had known more about the potential medication costs and how long a cycle can run if you aren’t responding quickly to treatment. Maybe, as much as I read up online and talked to the staff at the clinic for hours, I didn’t have enough information. Is that my fault? Theirs? I don’t know. I think in theory it’s a great option for women to take control of their lives and fertility. I get how there is a selfishness involved in spending all that money that you “could be spending elsewhere.” But that applies to most things people do with their money that isn’t giving to charity. And as far as messing with science, well, if we weren’t all doing that, most of us would be dead by now from some childhood disease we were immunized against or got antibiotics to treat.
Honestly, if someone were to give me the cash right now, I’d probably go through another cycle.
Or maybe I’ll just have a kid at The Wrong Time. Cause really, what is the right one?