BABY IT’S YOU
Pandemic key to freezing my eggs
Asurge in elective egg freezing since the pandemic hit means more Aussie women are assessing their options for having a baby in uncertain times, experts say. Concern about missing the boat to become a mother has triggered the increased interest in technology and taking more control.
“Lockdowns and social isolation restricting opportunities to date and meet a partner have brought fertility front of mind for many singles,” says Dr Raelia Lew from Women’s Health Melbourne. “The uptake had been increasing prior to COVID-19 and has continued to increase.”
Despite the lockdowns and the months of no treatment, there has been an 18 per cent increase in egg freezing in 2020 compared to 2019, says Queensland Fertility Group medical director, Associate Professor Anusch Yazdan. “And at the current rate, we have seen a 32 per cent increase from 2019 in 2021.”
Whatever the reason, egg freezing is giving women control.
WHEN TO FREEZE
“Lots of women are exploring egg freezing as a way to keep their fertility options open for later down the track,” agrees GP Dr Sneha Wadhwani, co-founder of Gyn & Tonic women’s retreats, who adds that timing is crucial. “Egg freezing can work well when there are greater volumes of eggs of good quality in supply, such as with women harvesting eggs in their early to mid 20s,” she says. “Once we’ve entered our thirties, the egg reserve and egg quality become depleted.”
“A sweet spot to freeze eggs is around 30,” agrees
Lew. “At this age, egg count and quality are still strong, and women are able to project forward with real awareness as to whether frozen eggs are likely to be a useful resource.”
WHAT IS THE COST
During the process – which costs around $5000-$6000 in Australia – ovaries are stimulated with hormones, producing eggs which are then collected under anaesthesia. Mature eggs are separated out, frozen and then stored. “Most states implement defined time periods for storage,” says Wadhwani, “and there is an additional cost (around $40 a month).”
Egg freezing is no guarantee. antee. As Lew says: “My advice ce is to freeze young and freeze e 20-30 eggs in a laboratory with a great track record for strong IVF success. For a fertile young woman who freezes a good d number of healthy eggs, the he odds of success then are actually very strong.”
WHY TAKE CONTROL
For Juliana, 37, a disability care worker, it took the pandemic to force her to make a decision about her future. “Freezing my eggs has always been something I thought of, maybe once every two years, but never took the step,” she says. “The pandemic influenced my decision in so many ways, as life was practically thr thrown upside down.”
Juliana says she found the t process relatively easy. ““If anything, I was quite r relieved that I was getting it d done,” she says.
“It was a very simple, straig straightforward procedure – yo you’re ’ pumping yourself full of hormones, so you do have crazy moments, but overall it was a really good experience for me. I said to myself, stop procrastinating or waiting for things to happen ‘naturally’. And I’m glad I did.”