A look back at 2018: The year of reproductive freedom
As the year winds down and we reflect back, 2018 was truly “the year of the woman.” We saw record gains in the House by women representatives, the #MeToo era of those coming forward about sexual misconduct and assault, and high-profile women opening up about reproductive health issues. Now more than ever, women are empowered to choose their own destinies—reproductive freedom being one.
You may have ideas of what your future will look like—two years, five years and maybe even 10 years from now. For some women, having children is part of that plan, but a family can also hinge on other factors, like careers, relationships and financial considerations. Just like planning for any other major milestone, there is no shame in anticipating when you’d like to have children and making strides to accomplish this goal. Whether a hormonal imbalance is at the root of your concerns, or you just know a family is in your future eventually, but maybe not within a few years, you have options to preserve your fertility.
Elective egg freezing is becoming increasingly popular with women of childbearing age who want to start a family but are unsure of the timing. Ensuring healthy eggs are preserved for when you do want to start a family, whenever that may be, can prove to be an invaluable choice for your future.
Why should I consider egg freezing?
Egg freezing is a useful procedure that has provided reproductive freedom to women with vast evolvements of the technology within the last five years. Those considering freezing their eggs are often women who think they may want to have a biological child in the future but perhaps aren’t ready right now. These are women who don’t want to be restricted by time and biological clocks, wanting to choose when the time is right for them. Often, women are either single, in a long-distance relationship or potentially focusing on their careers.
As some treatments for other medical concerns can impact fertility, egg freezing can also become a more urgent procedure for those recently diagnosed with conditions like cancer and lupus. Upon a life-changing diagnosis, it’s important to speak with your doctor about your options, and see if you can be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist prior to undergoing treatments.
When should I consider egg freezing?
Those as young as their 20s and as old as their late 30s can undergo effective egg-freezing procedures. However, the number and quality of eggs decrease as you age, so an increasing number of women in their 20s and early 30s are electing to undergo the process. If egg freezing feels like the right choice for you and your future, experts at Northwell Health Fertility recommend preserving earlier rather than later. You will be able to successfully retrieve more eggs with one cycle in your 20s than you will in your 30s and beyond.
Another factor that impacts when and if to freeze your eggs is ovarian reserve, a gross measure of one’s fertile eggs. While age can be a good indicator of ovarian reserve, everyone’s reserve is of different quality. Believe it or not, checking your ovarian reserve is a fairly simple test that can be conducted in any of the Northwell Health Fertility offices prior to egg-freezing consideration.
What can I expect during the process?
Patients are often surprised by the length of the egg-freezing process. Egg freezing generally takes about two to three weeks. It’s not months long as some may think. One cycle of egg freezing involves hormone injections for about 10 days on average, followed by a 15- to 30-minute procedure that requires anesthesia. Patients are home and the eggs are frozen that same day. In all, patients only need to take one day off work. If they are uncomfortable administering the injections on their own, they can even come into the Northwell Health Fertility offices to have a nurse assist.
Why Northwell Health Fertility?
We know there are many options when it comes to fertility preservation. At Northwell Health, you can not only elect to freeze your eggs with us, but we’re also here to guide you through every facet of your family’s journey. When you’re ready to conceive, we can be your guide in the in vitro fertilization process, pregnancy, birth, pediatrics and beyond. For us, it’s more than just a procedure. Northwell Health Fertility reproductive endocrinologists are proud of the strong bonds shared with patients that last for years and reach across the globe.
As we continue to normalize fertility preservation in the media and among our peers, it’s important to know your options for treatment and to choose a healthcare provider you trust to not only retrieve and preserve your eggs, but to be there for you when the time is right to start a family.