Would You Freeze Your Eggs?

Jenny Benjamin

egg on spoonWhen you hear about women like Kelly Preston getting pregnant and popping out babies in their 40s, you might think to yourself, "See, I have time." Well, forget the role that fertility clinics often secretly play in celebrity baby stories; the harsh reality is that after the age of 35, it ain't so easy to get pregnant. So if your biological clock is ticking down like a big, scary time bomb, without a Baby Daddy prospect in sight, what lengths would you go to in order to preserve your fertility?

Many women have a back-up plan (yes, they've made movies about it) -- if they don't meet a mate by a certain age, they'll pick out a sperm donor from the clinic and do it on their own, or just stop using birth control and maybe get pregnant with an unplanned "oopsie daisy baby." Still, no matter how progressive women these days may be, many are old-fashioned when it comes to partnership and children. They want to wait until they find their perfect match, biology be damned, and don't want to settle for Mr. He'll Do.

Now, top fertility clinics seem to be promising a solution: harvest your eggs now (read: before it's too late), we'll put them on ice, and when you're ready, we'll make some babies! Thanks to technological advancements in cryopreservation, a woman is able to harvest about a dozen eggs and freeze them, preserving her young oocytes until a later date when she can fertilize them with a partner or donor's sperm and then transfer them into her uterus. Pregnancy success rates with frozen eggs are still a little dodgy, but many clinics claim that using a process known as "vitrification," a majority of eggs will survive the thaw, and about half of patients will ultimately bring home a baby as a result.

Still, that's not a guarantee, especially if you try to get pregnant near the age of 40, when pregnancy complications and risks are much higher. Not to mention the cost -- the procedure is considered elective, so most insurance companies will not cover (or at least not fully) the roughly $10,000 it may be to harvest and freeze your eggs. And that doesn't include the thousands of dollars you may spend down the road to thaw, fertilize, and implant those embryos through IVF.

Would you freeze your eggs?

Image via Minimalist Photography/Flickr

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