I spent my 20's climbing the corporate and social ladder and though having children was something I knew I wanted it wasn't a priority at the time.
When the time came to start a family, I had my children in my mid-late 30's with no complications. As I entered the mom community, I realized my story wasn't the norm and lots of woman in my age group encounter significant hardship in family planning.
Some women feel pressured to have children when they are not personally ready to; and some feel they are at the point of no return and have to give up the option of carrying a baby or even a sibling to add to their existing family.
Thankfully that doesn't have to be the case.
Meet our expert, Dr. Ellen Goldstein.
Ellen Goldstein, MD is a board-certified OB-GYN and specialty-trained Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility physician. She has been helping hopeful families in Los Angeles for many years, with office locations in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Burbank, and Glendora.
Dr. Goldstein has compiled questions and answers to help women have an opportunity to do something proactively when family planning. Read her article below!
Making The Decision To Freeze Your Eggs
Questions To Ask Yourself and Your Physician
You might be surprised that the first thing I will ask you at your egg freezing consult is to tell me about yourself. Not your medical history, but rather where you are in life, relationships, and career. This is because egg freezing is a personal, social, emotional decision. The medical details are just details.
I will say it again: It is a Personal. Social. Emotional. Decision. However, you can’t make this decision without a strong understanding of your own reproductive system, which is why it’s really important to have a discussion with a fertility physician. A lot of this is not intuitive and is very different from what you learned in high school health.
My goal is to make sure that you have an opportunity to do something proactively if you think you might be a little older before you try to get pregnant. I want to make sure you have the information that you need to ask yourself the right personal questions for yourself. Those questions could include
- How strongly do I feel about having a family in my future?
- Am I open to donor eggs in the future if I don’t freeze eggs now?
- Will egg freezing bring me relief from some of the stress and pressure I feel while dating? Will it allow me to “date for the right reasons?”
You should also ask some questions of your doctor:
- Please explain my ovarian reserve testing and what this will mean for my treatment
- How do you plan to individualize my treatment plan to get the best outcome for me?
For those of you who want to dive into the nitty gritty details… here comes my nerdy ovarian physiology lecture, condensed.
We all have thousands of eggs in our ovaries but they are microscopic and “sleeping.” Every month a small group of eggs (normal is around fifteen) wakes up from sleeping and makes a little bit of fluid around each one, so now we can see these on ultrasound. Then, if you are having normal menstrual cycles, your brain talks to your ovaries and your ovaries talk to your brain and one egg grows and ovulates. The rest of the eggs in this pool die.
Two things happen as we get older (and unfortunately, old for an ovary is age 35 and above). 1) Fewer and fewer of our eggs are normal and capable of making a baby. 2) There are fewer and fewer eggs in the resting pool of eggs every month. This is what makes it harder to get pregnant as we get older—the dwindling supply of normal eggs.
Now, you may not have ANY trouble getting pregnant even if you don’t try until age 35 or older. Unfortunately, however, many people WILL have trouble. The basic statistic is that one in every 8 couples will have trouble getting pregnant, and that number is definitely higher in one’s late 30s and early 40s. Most women will have trouble at age 40 and above. By age 43, it can be VERY hard to achieve a pregnancy (with your own eggs) even with fertility treatment. Frozen eggs from when you were younger can DEFINITELY help us help you if you do wind up seeking help conceiving around this age.
You should also make sure you feel comfortable with your doctor and her office staff. This process can be intense and you deserve support. However, egg freezing only takes about two weeks of your life, and the right doctor will accommodate your busy schedule and fit the treatment around you as much as possible.
Please send me questions! I am happy to post other topics as well.
By Ellen Goldstein, MD