7 Women Freezing Eggs: Hope, Regret, Uncertainty

The process is an intense and arduous journey for many women, riddled with uncertainty, according to stories shared with the New York Times. Among the hundreds of patients who shared 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 for parenthood, only to find it, as one woman put it, “illusory.”

These are some of their stories.

Today, most women who freeze their eggs to preserve fertility do so: in 2020, just 6 percent of the nearly 13,000 women who had to freeze their eggs because they were undergoing chemotherapy or other potentially debilitating treatments did so.

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

A friend, then 40 and undergoing a tough third round of IVF, said Ms Edwards wished she had had the opportunity to freeze eggs when she was younger. Woman. Edwards was convinced.

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

“I approached everything differently because I knew those eggs were there,” she said. “I was calmer about my dating life and didn’t panic about 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 “intense panic” — the sudden feeling that although she was teetering in her thirties, she now knew she wanted to be a mom. Woman. Gertsch was living in New York City at the time and began three separate rounds of egg freezing, one right after the other, 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 and looked around at rows of other women who were masked and spaced two meters apart, Ms. Gertsch said she felt a sense of community – something she craved during the pandemic.

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