This is such a personal thing. Being unmarried and approaching 40 means more people telling you to freeze your eggs as “you aren’t getting any younger and if you want babies one day”…
Well, after 9 attempts at IVF and still being unsuccessful, there is a lot of merit in this. I wish I had frozen my eggs as then instead of having to now use egg donors, I could have been using my own eggs instead. This would mean that our baby would carry my DNA, have my features, my ‘Cathy-ness’. In my mid to late 30’s though, I just assumed it would all be fine when I did decide to have children. I wish I had known better and followed the advice to freeze my eggs. I’m now 42 and into my 4th year of IVF and my eggs are too ‘old’, and I’ll never have the opportunity to use my own eggs again. I can’t turn the clocks back to have my earlier age and egg quality. I have to face facts – this is the reality – someone else’s eggs will have to be used to hopefully give us a baby. Remember that the age of the womb is not a concern but the ageing of your eggs is.
The best time to freeze eggs is when you are 30 – 35 years old. Dr Paul Patridge, a gynie and obstetrician at Morningside Mediclinic in Joburg, says that after 35 the quality of eggs starts to decline. This rate of decline increases further at 38 so by 40, this is quite rapid!
What’s involved in freezing your eggs…
- Chat to your gynie / fertility specialist
- Have an ultrasound scan of the ovaries to see the number of follicles/immature eggs. There is a blood test called anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) which tells the potential fertility of the ovaries
- Over 2 weeks, you will have injections to stimulate the ovaries.
- Eggs are harvested from the ovaries (small procedure)
- Eggs are then prepared, stored and frozen.
- You can have this done privately or through the State.
This is called ‘peace of mind’ if you know that you want children but you are not there yet in terms of starting to try for a baby. You have nothing to lose and so much more to gain. Don’t leave it too late and have anyone tell you “I told you so”…least of all yourself.
You are not alone!