Opinion: Egg Freezing And The Empowered Dream

BY Olivia Phillips / Jul 22 2019 / 14:57 PM

More red tape surrounding egg freezing has been removed, and the tech behind it is improving all the time. But is it really the empowered dream we’ve all been sold?

Opinion: Egg Freezing And The Empowered Dream

I remember once reading that if freezing your eggs was your Plan B, you’d better have a Plan C to fall back on. Of course, that was around the time when I didn’t even have a Plan A, let alone the wherewithal to begin stockpiling contingencies for what seemed like some point in the fog of a very distant future. And yet here I am, finding myself on the slippery side of 35; single, childless, certainly not desperate to have kids any time very soon, but nonetheless acutely aware of that pesky biological clock ticking away, occasionally setting off a metaphorical alarm if I’m having a particularly anxious midnight crisis.

Far be it for me, though, to regurgitate woolly stats on how your egg count falls off a cliff post-28 – there are many studies that dispute this, by the way, plus the fact that, 

"For the first time in human history, more women in their 30s are now having children than those in their 20s."

I’m also loathe to perpetuate the fear that, as women, if we end up without children that we have somehow failed. ‘Having it all’ may well have been a lie we’ve been sold, and yet we continue to strive for it. And honestly, I am one such sucker. I do want it all; even when I know that ‘it all’ doesn’t really exist. What’s more – I believe I deserve it. I am the very definition of millennial entitlement, living through an era when my iPhone can immediately conjure up pretty much anything, at pretty much any time. To paraphrase Bette Midler, I want it all – and I would like it delivered.

“Does it level the reproductive playing field or spread the message that work comes before family?”

Somewhere between Twitter, Netflix and Deliveroo, I’ve become a fully paid-up member of the insta-generation. My life – and most probably yours, too – is being played out against a backdrop where pressing pause until it’s a more convenient time is utterly commonplace. Predictable, even. It's little wonder, then, that egg freezing, something that is rapidly increasing in global popularity, has piqued my interest. After all, it’s the promising equivalent of an on-demand baby.

Oocyte cryopreservation is a thoroughly 21st-century solution to an even more 21st-century problem – the impact that a woman’s career can often have on family; either raising one, or starting one to begin with. There are even companies like Google and Facebook who have now implemented policies offering to cover the costs of it. On the surface, a move towards empowering us by levelling the reproductive playing field between women and men. But underneath, I can’t help but wonder if it’s corporate manipulation at its finest. Does that just box off our choices even more, spreading the message that work should be your ultimate priority? Especially – and this is crucial – when success rates may not be as high as you think.

“The thawing technology has improved greatly over the past few years so that there’s almost no chance of [the eggs] being damaged now, whereas before that was probable,” Katherine Borge, the chief business officer of Dubai’s Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic tells me. Pun intended, presumably. “The recommended age to try and freeze your eggs is by 35.” I’ve missed that boat. “In general your fertility decreases quite dramatically after that.” The good news continues.

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ظهرت عيادة بورن هول للإخصاب في مجلة هاربر بازار العربية هذا الشهر. اطلع على المقال الذي تناقش فيه المحررة أوليفيا فيليبس تجميد البويظة مع مديرة الأعمال، كاثرين بورج. شكر خاص لharpersbazaararabia@ و Olivia Phillips على الميزة والتأكيد على جودة علامتنا التجارية ورعايتها! اتصل لمعرفة المزيد عن تجميد البويظة بنفسك. اتصل بنا (٤٨٣) ٨٠٠IVF Bourn Hall Fertility Clinic is featured in this month's issue of Harper Bazaar Arabia. Check out the article where editor, Olivia Phillips discusses Egg Freezing with our Chief Business Officer, Katherine Borge. Special thanks to @harpersbazaararabia and Olivia Phillips @favouritething for the feature and for vouching for our quality brand and care! Call for a free initial consultation to learn more about Egg Freezing for yourself. Contact us at 800-IVF (483) #BournHallFertilityClinic #BournHall #HarperBazaar #harperbazaararabia #eggfreezing #eggfreezingjourney #ivfdubai #pregnancy #motherhood #biologicalclock #millenials #ivfjourney #kyliejenner #krisjenner #بورن_هول #بورن #مركز #دبي #العين #مجلة #الامارات #سيدات_العين #سيدات_الامارات #

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“What actually, er, happens?” I ask tentatively, assuming the whole process to be a slightly more fancy version of a smear test. Turns out, it’s quite a rigmarole. Ten days of self-administered hormone injections, a few tests and then a procedure that Katherine describes as “uncomfortable.” She adds, “You wouldn’t want to drive yourself home afterwards.” All well and good, I suppose, if the success rate is there to warrant it.

So what about that? If this is a game of probability, as Katherine tells me it is, how many cycles of treatment would I need to have? Is it the more the merrier? “Theoretically, you can do it as many times as you like, but it’s common to only do it once, see how many eggs you get and then up your number. But really, it’s all about the quality of your eggs.”

To be clear, of all the places to do this, Bourn Hall is the one I would trust implicitly. An offshoot of Bourn Hall Clinic in the UK (the centre responsible for the birth of IVF), its pedigree is pretty unparalleled, with Katherine telling me that maintaining worldwide standards is every bit as important to them as increasing health literacy for us all.

Hope or hype aside, the sticking point for me personally is the cost. Is it ethical to charge a not-insignificant amount of money for something that, yes, has been recently removed from what the American Society for Reproductive Medicine considers an ‘experimental’ procedure, but still, statistically speaking, exists on the lower side of success.

"The irony also hasn’t escaped me that by the time you’re generally old enough to be able to afford it, your eggs are past their prime."

“It’s an insurance policy,” Katherine summarises, articulating something inescapable. And to be honest, that’s the crux of it. Can you put a price on family? On happiness? On hope? It may not be the magic bullet that I envisaged but, ultimately, some chance is better than no chance at all.

From the July/August issue of Harper's BAZAAR Arabia