7 Women on Egg Freezing: Hope, Regret, Uncertainty

The process is an intense and arduous journey for many women, filled with uncertainty, according to stories shared with The New York Times. Among the hundreds of patients who described their experiences, many expressed joy and hope; others spoke of the crushing disappointment that can come with trying to do everything in your power to plan parenthood, only to find it – as one woman put it – ‘illusory’.

These are some of their stories.

Today, the vast majority of women who freeze their eggs do so to preserve fertility: in 2020, only 6% of the nearly 13,000 women who froze their eggs did so because they needed chemotherapy or other potentially debilitating treatments .

Jenny Hayes Edwards was one of the first women in the country to preserve her eggs for non-medical reasons. He first heard about the procedure in 2009 when he was 34 years old. At the time, I had three restaurants in Colorado and barely had time to date, let alone be in a serious relationship, get married, and have kids. “I had no money, we were in the middle of a recession and I was working 24 hours a day,” he said.

A friend, who was 40 at the time and going through a tough third round of IVF, told Ms. Edwards wished she had the option to freeze eggs when she was younger. Ms. Edwards was convinced.

She froze her unfertilized eggs in June 2010, before the official ASRM seal of approval. She sold some jewelry, maxed out a credit card, and used some of her inheritance to pay for the procedure. Exactly a decade later, in June 2020, the 45-year-old woman gave birth to a child using her frozen eggs, an outcome the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates occurs in less than 10% of cases. of women his age or older. Those eggs, she said, had helped her live with less urgency: She quit her job, became a health coach and waited to find the right partner, meeting her husband in 2017.

“I approached everything differently knowing those eggs were there,” he said. “I was more relaxed about my dating life and wasn’t freaked out by my biological clock. I’m really proud of myself for being patient.”

Emily Gertsch woke up a few weeks after her 42nd birthday with what she called an “intense panic” — the sudden feeling that, despite faltering in her 30s, she now knew she wanted to be a mother. Ms. Gertsch was living in New York City at the time and embarked on three separate rounds of egg freezing, back-to-back, in the summer of 2020. She didn’t expect to enjoy the process, she said. But as she sat in the waiting room between seemingly endless blood tests, looking around at rows of other women, masked and six feet apart, Ms. Gertsch felt a sense of community, something she longed for during the pandemic.

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