In her mid thirties, New York journalist Rachel Lehmann-Haupt was confidently building her career, traveling the world and dating. She loved her life, but her biological clock was ticking. Everything changed when she was introduced to egg freezing, a revolutionary new technology that could help her save her eggs.
We had the privilege of interviewing Rachel, and here is what we learned:
Twinmom: Your story is inspiring to a lot of young women out there, why did you choose to freeze your eggs? How did you come to this decision?
Rachel: I froze them when I was 37 after a break-up with Mr. Wrong. It helped me feel calmer about my future. As a journalist, I had opportunity to go to Italy before I froze my eggs to interview Dr. Eleonora Porcu and Dr. Raffaella Fabbri, the biologist and the clinician who invented egg freezing. It was there Ilearned I had eight antral follicles. Antral follicles produce eggs, and their number declines as a woman ages. The doctor said “That means you’re biologically young”, which was the vital piece of information I needed to be sure I made the right choice. I decided to get pregnant as a single mom by choice at 40. I was lucky, it didn’t take me very many tries to get pregnant. I tell the story of my journey in my memoir, In Her Own Sweet Time: Egg Freezing and the New Frontiers of Family.
Twinmom: Why is egg freezing becoming so much more common now?
Rachel: Women are putting their economic power ahead of their procreative power. We’re getting married later and in many cases not getting at all. About 20% of women in the age range of 35-44 undergo fertility services to increase their chances of pregnancy. Many more women are now freezing their eggs because of this and because egg freezing is no longer considered “experimental” by American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the procedure is covered on many health insurances plans, including those at major corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Apple and the Pentagon.
Twinmom: You say it’s becoming more common in younger women in the workforce, why is that?
Rachel: As mentioned above, the procedure is covered on many health insurances plans in major companies such as Google, Facebook, and Apple, etc. You know, women are making massive strides in the workforce, edging out men as the new majority, but with such a brief biological window for childbearing, this can also mean delaying the timetable for motherhood and family planning. There’s also the possibility that Mr. Right has not shown up yet.
Twinmom: What are the benefits to freezing your eggs younger?
Rachel: The possibility of freezing and thawing eggs in the late 30s and 40s is low, because many of a woman’s eggs are damaged. Although, many women over 35 still have a large-enough ovarian reserve and are therefore younger from a biological perspective, including myself which I am very thankful for. In the end, it is always better to freeze your eggs at a younger age because of this risk.
Twinmom: You call yourself a “DIY Mom”, what does that mean?
Rachel: It was around my 39 th birthday when the urge to become a mother was becoming stronger, almost stronger than my desire for a relationship that would bring me a child. I coined the phrase “DIY Mom”, because I was determined to do this on my own. I considered having a kid with an ex-boyfriend or co-parenting with a friend, but in the end I decided take the means of production into my own hands by choosing a sperm donor from a bank.
Twinmom: What advice can you give to our readers who may be struggling with this decision?
Rachel: Know your options and you will be stronger. Balancing it all is hard work, but always remember that you don’t have to have it all at the same time. I offer a piece of advice for whatever decade you might be living in here: http://inherownsweettime.com/life-options/
Twinmom: Thank you so much for taking time to speak to our readers about your experience. We look forward to reading more from you.