Guest post by Heidi Hayes
Despite the relative absence of women in top positions after 30, the tendency for women to begin having children later in life is increasing. But until biology has a chance to catch up with society, the problem of a ticking clock is still very real. Instead of dreaming about what their children may look like, many couples today are faced with discussing egg donation instead. If you’ve still got a thousand things on your to-do list before having a family, you can avoid future infertility issues by freezing your eggs early.
Work or family?
The US still lags miserably behind our European counterparts, boasting the worst maternity packages on earth. Add to that inadequate childcare options and lack of paternity leave, and it’s not surprising that many women are forced to choose between a career and a family. But now you don’t have to choose. If you love what you do, are ambitious, or simply haven’t found the right partner yet, freezing your eggs early on will safeguard your fertility long into the future and allow you to live the life you want.
The Egg Freezing Process
The process is relatively simple. You’ll need to book a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist to talk about your medical history and personal goals. So, if you’re curious about the process, they’ll be able to answer all your questions. If you decide to go ahead with egg freezing, they will send you for some pre-cycle lab work. You’ll also be given clear instructions on how and when to take your hormone medication (needed to stimulate egg supply.)
When your body is ready, your eggs will be harvested, frozen with flash freezing techniques and stored. Sounds scary? It isn’t really. You’ll be under anaesthetic for the procedure, and it only takes around 10-15 minutes. Does it hurt? Most women report some mild cramping, similar to period pain. You get that every month anyway, and it’s a small price to pay for safeguarding your reproductive future.
What happens if you want to donate some of your eggs to women who can’t have children using their own? It’s a growing phenomenon; around one in six couples in the US suffer from infertility problems. Cases of inability to conceive are more and more common today, and sometimes for unexplained reasons. Extreme stress can be a factor, or even ingesting too many toxins. Sometimes a woman simply isn’t biologically compatible with her partner, or her eggs are no longer viable due to age or illness.
Can you imagine being told that your eggs are no longer viable? Finding out that you can’t conceive is an earth-shattering experience for many women. They may experience grief, depression, anger, rage, unacceptance – the whole nine yards. Fortunately for these women, you can change the outcome of their lives. Thanks to major advancements in modern fertility treatments, they can still have the family they dream about, get pregnant and carry their baby – using frozen donor eggs.
Becoming a donor
When you decide to become an egg donor, you’ll be screened in the same way as you would when freezing your eggs for your own use. You can donate your eggs in one of two ways – through an open donor program, through which donor-conceived offspring have the opportunity to reach out to you after they are of age, or anonymously. Either way, your details will be kept strictly confidential. The woman who will receive your egg will only have access to the information that you provide.
You will be asked to fill out a profile for potential recipients to view – this helps them have a child with similar physical characteristics to them. For example, if a woman is tall with long blond hair, she may prefer an egg donor to possess a similar size and stature. After you decide the type of donor program you’d rather participate in and finish your screening, you’ll be prepared for the egg donation process detailed above. Simple, relatively painless, and giving the gift of life to other women aching to be mothers.
Not everything in life turns out the way we plan. Not everything comes wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top, either. But just as you dominate every day at the office, now you can do the same at home. Beat future infertility issues like a boss and help other women in desperate need as well by freezing and donating your eggs.
Heidi Hayes is the CEO of Donor Egg Bank USA. She has more than 20 years of healthcare experience and has worked extensively in the field of reproductive endocrinology. Having been unsuccessful at traditional IUI and IVF treatments, Heidi personally understands the struggles of infertility. After many years of trying to conceive, she ultimately built her family through adoption and donor egg treatment. She always believed that if she didn’t give up, her ultimate goal of becoming a parent would someday become a reality.