By Leslie Schreiber
Today’s young women enjoy greater life choices than ever before. Education and career paths offer more personal autonomy and financial independence. No longer confined to the “mommy track” after they graduate college, women are postponing marriage and childbirth until they are ready, emotionally and financially, to make those decisions.
Unfortunately, there is a “but” in all this. Because women who want children are delaying having them, their “biological clocks” become an enemy. As women age, so do their eggs, and by the time women are in their 30’s, their eggs become quantitatively and qualitatively less viable.(The same is true of men and their sperm, but as the gender that actually carries the fetus to term, women are under a greater societal burden to bear children).
However, science has kept up with the times, and women no longer have to be terrorized by the march of time. Because women’s eggs age faster than their wombs, egg freezing – or cryopreservation – provides young women the opportunity to store their eggs until they’re ready to have children. In fact, there are more women in their 30’s having children than women in their 20’s and the number of women in their 40’s is on the rise.
Egg cryopreservation isn’t cheap, though. One round of egg freezing can cost around $16,000 – often, two rounds are necessary to harvest the optimal number of eggs, bringing the total to over $30,000. In addition, storage fees can run up to $800 annually, depending on where you live.
In a socially progressive move, some Silicon Valley companies, like Google, Apple and Facebook, now provide financial coverage for egg cryopreservation, in addition to other fertility and family planning options. These companies understand how important women are in the workplace, and want to create a place that allows women to establish their careers so that, down the line, they can step away to have children.
Critics, however, argue that these benefits send the wrong message, that work is more important than family and that women can’t have both. As an attorney specializing in reproductive law, I believe that all women—and men—should be informed. Knowing the facts about your bodies and the gifts the human body is capable of is the first step in making good choices for yourself and your reproductive choices. Have a fertility work-up with your OB-GYN or reproductive endocrinologist and learn about what’s happening with you. We must honor our bodies and the body clock that’s evolved over millennia and if we do choose medical intervention, we should make that decision carefully and knowingly. Be fertility empowered.
Whatever the argument, everyone should agree that giving women greater control over when to have children can be a step in the right direction.
See “Does Egg Freezing Work?” at https://www.fertilityiq.com/egg-freezing/does-egg-freezing-work.
Caplan-Bricker, N., “For the First Time Ever, Thirty-Something Women Are Having More Babies Than their Twenty-Something Counterparts,” available at http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2017/05/17/cdc_data_says_women_in_their_thirties_are_having_more_babies_than_women.html.
Id., https://www.fertilityiq.com/cost. For comparison, IVF treatments can run as much as $23,000 per cycle. Id.
See Tran, M., “Apple and Facebook Offer to Freeze Eggs for Female Employees,” available at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/oct/15/apple-facebook-offer-freeze-eggs-female-employees.
See Weller, C., “What you need to know about egg-freezing, the hot new perk at Google, Apple, and Facebook,”