Gone are the times when women are expected to immediately get pregnant in their 20’s. Slowly but surely, we’re walking into a world with more opportunities and doors opening up all around us. Many women do want children and a family, but that shouldn’t come at the price of sacrificing other experiences. The idea of the “biological clock” puts some unwanted pressure on many women who want to have children, but also want to pursue an education, work, travel, or other interests. Other women may not be certain about whether or not they want to have kids but might want to keep the option open. This is also a good possibility to explore for women with any medical conditions that may hinder them from safely having children at this point. Surgeries and things such as cancer treatment can harm pregnancies, so this can be a good way to wait. Egg freezing is a great, recently developed medical procedure for women who want to keep the option of having children open while pursuing other endeavours.
Egg freezing is also called “oocyte cryopreservation.” To preserve a woman’s eggs, the oocytes must be extracted, frozen, and stored. Whenever the woman is ready to get pregnant, the eggs can be thawed and inserted into the uterus through in-vitro fertilisation. The surgical procedure is costly (currently, as it is pretty new), but very low risk. The whole procedure takes about 10 minutes after being given hormone treatments for a few weeks prior to the surgery. The doctors will observe the health of the ovaries through ultrasounds.
Doctors recommend freezing a few dozen eggs, to increase the chance of pregnancy after IVF. The success rate still does depend on the woman’s age (and the partner’s sperm), but it definitely increases the chance. The longer the eggs stay in the body, the lesser chance there is of them being fertilized.
There is still a lot more research being done on egg freezing, but it’s a pretty cool scientific procedure. I think it’s important for women to not have to choose between childbirth and personal fulfilment. This buys women some time and healthily preserves the eggs. This way, women can finish college, work, pursue hobbies, have more time before having to settle down. I hope over the next few years, more research on this topic is done. I’d like to see reduced costs and higher accessibility. This can really help reduce some stigma and pressures towards women in society.