Freeze Eggs, Pick the Time &
Get Pregnant. Any Questions?
There are many reasons why a woman would choose to freeze her eggs. Career is often invoked, albeit it’s also overrated. Beyond the pros and cons of such decision – and they are indeed many -, getting there has its own hefty share of potential risky turns.
Health, emotional state, peer pressure or economic status, it all may affect a woman’s drive to maternity. But whereas social bullshit, or technology shortcomings, may be unavoidable bumps, there should be no other role for her mate, if she’d happen to have one: to shut up and pay close attention.
There’s a rush, among Western societies’ elites, to plan life as if following a recipe, with measured servings of duty, pleasure, adventure, and comfort, healthy assumptions, and invested decisions, all supposed to offer a well balanced meal of experiences and zest.
But life hardly follows such prescription. Rather, its messy development assaults even the most pampered among us, pushing most of everyone to engage on an endless chase after what’s next. Along the way, sense of purpose and grasp of reality may get lost.
To a woman it’s also entrusted a double-weight task, as her body is claimed by all sides as support to their own survival. Thus, all festering assumptions and expectations, both onerous and false, about what ‘nature’ expects from a female. Needless to repeat, nature has nothing to do with it.
As women wrestle control over their right to procreate whenever they find it fit, technology has kept apace, offering an array of valuable tools. Despite society’s self-serving obscurantism, the women’s struggle for self determination has become template to a whole range of human rights issues.
PLANNING FOR AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
Choice is still denied to the majority of women living outside the bubble of industrialized societies. But even for the privileged few, such tools don’t come cheap. And the decision is as wrenching and grief-prone as any responsible parenthood step can be. Maybe more.
In statistical terms, most women in the world live in squalor conditions, with no running water or power, and are in charge of kids, lovers, and relatives. Many are enslaved or paid a fraction
of their male counterparts. For these, choice is just a foreign word.
But for the vilified career women, that ‘minority’ living in big cities who terrorists, religious fundamentalists, dictators, and war lords hate so much, choice is a personal decision loaded with external considerations, that constantly threaten to undermine her will.
From the standpoint of choosing the freeze-eggs-now-for-a-later-pregnancy way, things have improved noticeably. But it still takes a lot of planning, preparation, quasi-gruesome procedures, and the end result is never guaranteed. After a whole ordeal, there may be still no babies to hug and take care of at the end.
NEWBIES & VETS AT INFORMATION PARTIES
The combination of cryogenics and in-vitro fertilization was developed to help cancer patients, about to undergo chemotherapy and lose their eggs’ function. But now it’s a multimillion dollar industry, catering to the increased demand for planned pregnancies.
Navigating the many routes and specific turns that suit each individual’s needs can be maddening. Thus, the information parties, networks where people with different levels of expertise and experience exchange tips and probably offer each other comfort too.
They can be daunting on their own. Try picturing yourself in a room full of strangers, single and married women, some with kids, others desperately seeking to have some, along those who have or have not decided exactly for how long if ever they’ll have their eggs frozen.
A place where sometimes someone may show up to donate their eggs too. Or to sell them. Since it’s an informal system, the rules about what kind of participant is most desired, and what type of transaction is acceptable may be determined on a case by case base.
BENEFITS MAY INCLUDE YOUR (LATER) PREGNANCY
If the industry is profiting nicely from the not so new trend, Silicon Valley is starting to awaken to the advantages of luring skilled professionals with an enhanced benefits package, way beyond the usual perks of gym membership, free mocacinos, and a biannual bonus.
Apple and Facebook have taken the lead, and may soon be followed by other trendy companies, offering to cover the freezing-egg procedure, so to keep their most valuable employees on, selling them on the prospect of beating their biological clock and becoming pregnant later.
The irony is that many cancer patients may be still left out of such fertility policies. Many have also expressed concerns about how the benefit is being sold as a perk, which ultimately boosts the company’s productivity while boding well to its public image.
For most women, however, to have babies is a personal decision, aimed at self-fulfillment as a human being, not some convenient path that will optimize their professional shot at a successful career. Unfortunately, that’s how most of the corporate world perceives it.
LET’S NOT KEEP ALL EGGS IN ONE BASKET
Society’s entrenched mores will always try to crush women’s aspirations to exercise control over their bodies. At least for as long as genders are regarded differently – and biased against females. In that way, a pregnancy postponed is still a small step.
But on an individual level, it makes a huge difference, and it does reinforce a woman’s autonomy and right to choose. As mentioned, this is not near the top of priorities for most of them. But so wasn’t the pill, or condoms, just a few decades ago.
No one is trivializing the emotional toll a decision about having or not babies, now or sometime in the future, may take on the only ones whose bodies are capable of even having this option. And no one is expecting such a choice will be as casual as choosing a lipstick.
But ever since sex started to split up from procreation, more women were able to acquire an education, of having successful careers, and emotionally stable lives, than ever before. Freezing eggs for a later use is just another step on that inexorable journey.
Ultimately, we all stand to benefit from life being made a bit easier to mothers, sisters, lovers, and friends. And so will those who are still struggling to keep themselves healthy, and physically whole, while everyone else around is falling apart. The sooner, and cheaper, the better.
* The Body of Choice
* Phony Outrage
* Natural Gifts