‘I SPENT £50,000 BUT STILL COULDN’T HAVE A BABY’
Alice Mann* had always assumed she’d have a family, so when she suddenly found herself single at the age of 36, she froze her eggs. Alice spent £14,000 freezing 14 eggs and paid hundreds more to store them. Yet when she tried to use them four years later, she was told that none of them was healthy enough to produce a baby. But she says she has no regrets.
Alice, 40, says, “In 2013 I’d split up with the man I thought I was going to marry. I was heartbroken, single and wanted a child, so hitting pause and freezing my eggs seemed like the best option. The odds weren’t stacked in my favour, the total number of babies born from frozen eggs in the UK was still only in double figures. But it gave me some hope.”
However, the process wasn’t easy. Alice explains, “Egg freezing is basically the first half of IVF, so you spend a lot of time alone in waiting rooms, all the while being surrounded by loved-up couples. I felt incredibly alone.”
After freezing her eggs, Alice carried on with her life as normal, but in the year she turned 40, she was still single, so decided to use her eggs to have IVF with donor sperm. However, when the first seven eggs were defrosted and fertilised, only one embryo was good enough to be implanted. She says, “After two weeks, a test revealed that I still wasn’t pregnant. I convinced myself that nobody gets pregnant first time around, so I tried again and stayed optimistic. But heartbreakingly, I received a call from the clinic telling me that despite my eggs being defrosted and fertilised,none of them had made good enough quality embryos to transfer. I was utterly floored by the news. I felt angry but, above all, incredibly sad.”
But Alice is determined not to give up on her baby dream. She says, “After my frozen eggs failed me, I decided to attempt conventional IVF using my ‘fresh’ eggs. Yet after three cycles of treatment, I’m still not a mother. But I’ve finally met a man who is keen to have children, so who knows what could happen.”
Alice doesn’t regret freezing her eggs, but she is urging women to think about the realities behind the process and research other options. She says, “I’ve spent around £50,000 trying to have a baby – including egg freezing, donor sperm, IVF, drugs and blood tests. But even though I haven’t had a child yet, I have no regrets. For me, even the three per cent chance of getting pregnant was worth it. Freezing my eggs at 36 meant that I didn’t have to spend the rest of my life wondering whether doing it might have made the difference between me having my own biological child or not. And that is worth everything.”