The decision of freezing your eggs is a big one. In fact, this conversation didn’t become possible until recent years. In the past, women were expected to be at home taking care of the family, and essentially – baby making machines. But now, we have careers and so much that we want to achieve before having the conversation about babies with our partner. The thing is, we can’t have children after a certain age, so the rush begins in early adulthood to cross everything off our “before baby” bucket list – unless you freeze your eggs.
We had the opportunity to sit down with actress Elizabeth Higgins Clark, who decided to take control of her biological clock at age 29, and share her story with you all!
1. How did you first become interested in freezing your eggs? Did it come from your doctor/gynecologist? If no, what was the attitude of your doctor when you brought up the idea?
About a year ago I read a brief article about a woman giving birth to her first child at the age of 49. I wanted to know how that was possible so I started doing some research. I learned that, given the woman’s age, she most likely used a donor egg. When I found that the cut off age to be an egg donor in the US is 32, I thought “wouldn’t it be great if I could be my own egg donor”.
I had consultations with two doctors before I selected Dr. Michael Drews at RMANJ. I was 29 during our initial meeting. He told me that he often sees women who are a decade older and he can’t help them. He highlighted the benefits of taking a step like this at a younger age.
2. Technology has brought us many new things. Do you think this ability to turn off the biological clock will be a plus for women on a career track? Or do you see any possibility that women may be pressured by employers to opt to postpone pregnancy by freezing their eggs if they want to rise up the corporate ladder, rather than have a pregnancy naturally at a younger age if that is what they choose?
The main reason I decided to start talking about this publicly is because we’re doing an incredibly poor job of educating young women about their fertility. I was fortunate enough to attend good schools and my formal sex education classes basically consisted of lessons on how to avoid both pregnancy and disease. While I am grateful to have received that much information, as many American girls do not, there is a real gap in the curriculum that needs to be addressed.
With that in mind, I am hopeful that young women will be able to make choices that are right for them once they are armed with all of the information we can give them. I think egg freezing can be a plus for the women who want it to be a plus. I think it has the potential to prevent women from diving into relationships that perhaps they shouldn’t be in, just because they feel like their time is running out. I know many of my friends were very excited to hear about Apple and Facebook’s decision to offer egg freezing as a benefit. If more companies follow suit, it certainly opens up a lot of interesting possibilities to women as they begin their careers.
It’s imperative that these companies remember that they are offering egg freezing as a “benefit” and as such, no woman should ever be pressured or shamed into utilizing this service.
3. Do you think this has the potential to be yet another political football in the struggle for full equality for women and their determination to have control of decisions regarding their reproductive lives?
Well, for some inexplicable reason every aspect of a woman’s reproductive life seems to find its way into political conversations. I can’t imagine this will be any different.
4. What would you like to say to the women out there who disagree with this decision?
I don’t think egg freezing is for everyone. It doesn’t make sense for every woman. But, it did for me. This was not a decision I made lightly. I came to it after months of careful consideration and I’m very glad I went through with it. I’d like to think that even those who disagree with me would acknowledge that it isn’t a haphazardous choice. And regardless of whether you agree with my decision or not, it was mine to make.
How do you feel about the topic of freezing your eggs? Would you do it?
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