Egg Shaming: Why Are We Trying to Scare Women Out of Freezing Their Eggs?


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    I am close to 40 and the mother of two young children. I started trying to get pregnant when I was 32 years old. I remember having intentional sex for the very first time thinking, O
    h my God we’re gonna have a baby! I didn’t get pregnant that time or the next… and then months of failing to conceive turned into years of infertility hell.

    Lately, I see (another) wave of articles scaring women out of freezing their eggs, like the Washington Post’s article on the struggle to conceive with frozen eggs. These articles refer to egg freezing as a “trend” or “hip perk” and they all claim to be about what “no one else is talking about” and what “women are not considering,” which is that freezing your eggs does not guarantee you will have a baby.

    Well, shut the front door.

    The truth is that any woman who has watched her life slide toward the margin and off the edge of the “This is what life is supposed to look like” postcard is well aware that there are no guarantees.

    Why does a woman’s fertility have an expiration date and men can reproduce until they die? Who knows? Maybe God was drunk for that part. But just as we have bronchodilators to keep lungs breathing in the God-given air and stents to keep arteries clear and hearts beating long after the Lord intended, there will be a medical answer to the social imbalance of fertility. It’s just not here yet.

    In the meantime, we do what we can.

    If you are considering freezing your eggs (or know someone who is and can share this), please stop reading the dire articles online and listen to me. I know more than I ever wanted to know about this topic, and I have some advice to give.

    Don’t believe all the data. There’s not enough and it may not mean anything, for you.

    Research and educate yourself, but remember egg freezing is new and its newness makes it a hotbed for criticism and controversy. The fact is we don’t have enough data because not enough women have gone to use their frozen eggs yet. By the time women who are freezing their eggs go to use them, there could be significant advancements that improve their chances of getting pregnant with them.

    I have witnessed so much change in just the last few years of assisted reproduction. Women struggling to conceive had to consider themselves lucky and accept the chaos of twins based on the standard of a 2-embryo transfer. Now, with the advancements of genetic testing and embryo freezing, the norm is just one embryo, one baby. Clinics used to swear by fresh embryos. Now the norm has shifted to transferring previously frozen embryos.

    We are in the midst of scientific progress… and so things will continue to change drastically.

    Close your computer for a minute, sit down, and read It Starts With the Egg.

    Since pretty much the beginning of time, we’ve been told the older we are, the more abnormal our eggs get. It turns out, age does not solely dictate the quality of our eggs.

    It Starts With the Egg was written by Rebecca Fett. Both a scientist (of molecular biotechnology and biochemistry) and a woman motivated by her own fertility struggles, Fett uses accessible language to explain the science of egg quality and provides in three digestible parts how to improve your egg quality and increase your chances of having a baby.

    You can and should (with the approval of your doctor) increase the quality of your eggs before you freeze them.

    And whether Fett refers to women trying to conceive through IVF or naturally, she is talking to you. Your frozen eggs will ultimately require IVF and/or you may find yourself trying to conceive naturally one day. Preserving your fertility and increasing the quality of your eggs is step one, no matter what step two is.

    Chose a fertility clinic that knows what they are doing.

    The internet is your friend when you want to know what ALL your options are, but God does it suck when you just want to be told what to do.

    Some say you should choose a fertility clinic based on their lab’s oocyte cryosurvival rates (how many frozen eggs survive thawing). Makes sense – if your eggs don’t thaw, end of story. But, right now, these oocyte cryosurvival rates are not available online, and, remember, the majority of all eggs ever frozen are still on ice.

    When it can take up to three months to get an initial consult at a fertility clinic, how do you know which clinics to even call?

    I think the question is – Do they make babies?

    The top fertility clinics that are making the most babies year after year have the best labs and the best IVF doctors. They are the proven leaders in freezing and thawing embryos. And they are in the business of making babies, so they want your eggs to make babies, too.

    SART is the best place to compare the live birth rates of fertility clinics. SART has this tool where you can enter your zip code and get a list of clinics in your area, with access to a report on their success rates.  

    Make appointments with at least three clinics. Then you can ask them all about where they are with oocyte cryosurvival rates and, equally important, what plans they have to make progress by the time you are ready to thaw.

    Attach yourself to a fertility specialist that cares.

    Fertility clinics feel like factories. From their perspective, egg freezing is a process, the same for everyone. After your initial consults, should you decide to become a patient, don’t be surprised if the warm welcomes disappear and eye contact becomes minimal. If you feel like they forget you are an actual person, it’s because they have.

    Keep your sanity.

    Before you freeze your eggs, even before you have your first initial consult, talk to a holistic fertility health specialist like Common Point. Common Point is an acupuncture practice that will prepare your body and your eggs for both the physical and the emotional sides of the process.

    Whether it is an acupuncturist, an herbalist or a therapist, have someone to talk to who is smart, kind, and understands fertility. They will keep you sane and, unlike doctors, they will take your call.

    Trust yourself, above all.

    The decision to freeze your eggs is yours. Do your (credible) research and do not let online posts scare you. There is not enough time or attention span to build a meaningful, accurate body of information before it is posted. Google a few articles on egg freezing and actually compare the statistics. They don’t match. But if they’ve gotten you to click through, somehow they’ve done their job.

    That article I mentioned earlier, once you strip out all the scary words and the condescension, it is about one woman, just one, who froze her eggs in 2011 when egg freezing was in its infancy. Six years later her IVF cycle failed and she ultimately had to use a donor egg. The post goes on to state that a number of (Brigitte’s) friends were also early adopters of egg freezing; today they are facing a similar reckoning.” What reckoning? Every woman she sites is now a mother and had a baby with her own eggs.

    As for the rest of us, preserving fertility is something we should all be thinking about long before it is time to conceive. Too many individuals and couples are blindsided by not knowing how it works because all we’ve ever been taught is how to prevent it. It’s about time we edit the birds and the bees and get some books about fertility into high school health classrooms alongside the condomed bananas.

    We have decided as a species to stay alive longer than we should naturally. It’s okay for the other half of that species to be able to have children for longer, too.


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    Amy is a technologist by trade and a writer by nature. Wife to a dashing web designer, mother to a beautiful, thoughtful daughter, adorable, slightly less civilized son, and a Yorkshire Terrier who came first and is still waiting for the non- furry babies to leave. As a work-from-home mom, she believes work/life balance is not a concept but a daily (sometimes exhausting) goal. She is always in search of a community that fosters her belief that sameness is boring, money is only a means to see the world and there are no rules we should impose on one another in this life other than Be Kind. She loves her family, lives to travel, and firmly believes that a homemade meal, a handmade cocktail and an episode of the Bachelor (a day late because she doesn’t own a tv) can cure almost anything.


    1. Infertility is actually a big problem for many, but you just have to be strong and stand still. I would highly recommend others try this. I am really glad and thankful that you shared this article.

    2. I am just starting down the path of freezing my eggs – didn’t think I’d be 33 and single, but here I am, and the prospects aren’t looking good. Thank you for writing this article! I agree with your first point: other writers interpret “no guarantees of a baby” as “those quacks are taking your money and the egg thing never works!” Also, your other advice is really helpful, since it’s been harder than I expected to choose a site in the bay area.


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