Over two and a half year ago, I made the decision to freeze my eggs. Not only did I freeze my eggs, but I also documented my journey to share with others, as I felt it was something so many were unaware of, had myths about and that there was so much shame and stigma surrounding this procedure. I didn’t really think beyond making the documentary, I just did it because I felt it was something I could do to help others. Over two and a half years, I’m still talking about this subject, footage from my documentary is still being shown and it’s more relevant now than ever. I have received so many messages from women, thanking me for sharing my story, but also from women telling me they only wish they had frozen their eggs at a younger age, women who started this process maybe later in life or when it was too late. My heart goes out to them, but these messages also remind me how relieved I am about what I had done for my own future self and also continuing to promote this as an option to others.
This is why I still talk about this subject, because it’s still so important for women to know the facts. So, I’m going to try and break it down for you as the reasoning as to why I believe women need to at least consider this as an option when they get to a certain age and why as a society we need to lift any shame and negative beliefs that surround it.
- Our biological clock hasn’t changed. We might be looking younger and acting heathier than ever before, but our biological clock has never changed and there is nothing we can do to change it. No green smoothies and health eating will revert back time. Whilst most consider 30 to be age where things are only just beginning, 30 in fertility terms could already see many women struggle.
- We have more options in terms of dates, relationships and marriage. Women used to get married younger because it wasn’t as though it was so easy to live alone and earn a decent income. Now we have more options for love and for work and travel and how great that these options are accessible to us. But it might mean we choose to start family life a little later than what was done in the past.
- Being an older Mum is ok. You might hear people talk about the fear of being the oldest on the playground, but what is too old these days? I know some women in their 40’s who are fitter and healthier than anything 20 something. Whilst there might be a point where age and running around after children does become a factor, unlike our biological clock and age, our age in terms of energy and fitness has for some increased.
- Dating can be hard and there are lots of different dates to try. When people feel this rush to procreate, like time is running out, it can be a matter of musical chairs. They rush to find that last seat to jump on before the music stops. But do they look to see if that seat is right or just jump on the one that is free? This is what happens sometimes in the dating world. It’s not a matter of Mr Right but Mr Right Now who happens to meet some criteria and be in the right place at the right time. When we look around at the number of couples who are divorcing post children, we should start to take note how important it is to get into the right relationships before a major life and relationships stressors like kids, are introduced into the mix. And for those wondering why I call them stressors, mostly after the second child is when things start to unravel, when you have no time for yourself, not time for each other and exhaustion has been taken to an entirely new level. You need to have a solid relationship to be able to survive and why not take your time dating to find who that solid foundation might be built with?
- Most people are unware of any infidelity issues until they start trying. When we get a check-up from our GP, checking infertility isn’t something we commonly ask for. Sometimes, people won’t know that they will hit tough times when trying to get pregnant until they are there. We are not taught about infertility growing up and it’s not included in the birds and the bees. So, what if you did start to struggle a little later in life and you had some younger stronger eggs to help you out?
- Women want to work. We should not feel made guilty for wanting to prologue our careers or at least try and get them going a bit first. Lest face it, maternity leave for many is still not ideal and many women struggle to find the balance with motherhood and professional life. It’s important for some to be established before they start procreating and be at a point in their career lives where they can take some more time to bond with their little one. Why should we be made to feel guilty about that if there is something we can do to help us when we get there?
- We want a single life a little longer. Again, there is so much guilty put on women who just want some more time. That might be time with their partner, time at work or just time to themselves without the nappies and sleepless nights. A woman can suffer when resentment kicks in and that longing for a life that once was. This can have an impact on parenting and any relationships. Why should we be made to feel guilty for wanting just a little more time if there is something we can do to help fertility? Is it selfish or are we setting ourselves up to be the best mother we feel we can be? It’s not to say that those who haven’t had a bit of extra time are not amazing Mums, but for those who feel they really need it, why not reach out for the help that is there?
- Life is uncertain. We don’t have a crystal ball to tell us how it will all work out. Sometimes you just don’t know what will happen with life, love, relationships and even health. So, if motherhood is something that is important, why not do something for your future self to help your future self out?
My egg freezing story (and my bloated belly full of follicles) once again has made a TV appearance, this time on Today Tonight Adelaide. I encourage you to check this one out and consider how egg freezing might play a role in your life or a role in the life of someone you love.
Today Tonight Adelaide: Putting baby plans “on ice” – but what will egg-freezing really mean for Adelaide families?