This is a guest post from one of our patients. She is 32 and recently froze her eggs at Malpani Infertility Clinic
Our 20s and early 30's may be the easiest time to have a baby but it's not always the best time - for a lot of good reasons. We are at the top of our career and want to grow professionally; we want to prepare emotionally and financially to be parents ; and we are unwilling to settle for Mr. RightNow instead of Mr. Right.
The problem is that the biological clock is ticking on - and we can hear it loud and clear ! The good news is that with a little medical help , we can freeze time , to plan for the future , and create a safety net for our eggs !
Egg Freezing gives us the opportunity to take control of a What if situation and preserve ourfertility until we are ready to have a baby.
I recently took the path less traveled and froze my eggs. Here are some key takeaways from from my journey:
Find the best doctor for you
With the number of IVF clinics burgeoning around the country; I cannot emphasise enough the importance of a finding a great doctor. It is a super specialised procedure and can be tricky and emotional. It is also expensive. So the last thing you want is a doctor who is unequipped in any way or one that doesnt have your best interest at heart.
I was incredibly lucky to find Mumbai based, Dr. Anjali and Dr. Aniruddha Malpani who are pioneers the field. Their vast knowledge and infinite experience, state of the art medical facilities, generosity and patience with educating their patients, honesty and genuine compassion in discussing the realistic possibilities truly left me feeling like I was in the best hands possible.
The initial tests are important
After your first consultation; your doctor will advise you a series of tests to evaluate your reproductive health , to check your ovarian reserve. This is a simple blood test to check your AMH level; and a vaginal ultrasound scan to check your antral follicle count.
It's best to not make any assumptions at this stage with respect to what your fertility prospects are. Whatever the outcome of these results; it's important to remain objective and not feel guilty or stressed and to work with your doctor to find the best way forward.
You will need to take injections for about 10-12 days , to mature your eggs, so they are ready for collection. I know the idea of taking shots daily can put anyone off, but these are given subcutaneously, through a very fine needle, which means they aren't painful, and you can learn to take them yourself.
The egg retrieval process (in a nutshell)
The doctor will do scans about 3-4 times during this process, to make sure your eggs are growing well. When they are mature, the eggs are ready to be retrieved. This takes less than 30 mins, and is done under anesthesia, so there is no pain. Hospitalisation is not needed, because it's done under vaginal ultrasound guidance, so there's no surgery involved.
Recovery times will vary. In my case I was working full time throughout the process and was back on my feet an hour after surgery.
You may need more than one cycle
In general doctors advise that you freeze about 10 eggs , so you have a good chance of getting pregnant when you want to have a baby. How many mature eggs the doctor will be able to freeze for you varies from person to person. But whats important to note is that you may need more than one cycle to freeze sufficient number of eggs.
Seek positive affirmation and support
When I mentioned to my mum and my closest friends that I was thinking about having my eggs frozen, their response was Thats a great idea!.
But dont expect everyone to understand your decision. Be prepared to not have unanimous support and even receive unwelcome advice from those who do not understand you. The journey can be emotional and despite your best efforts to stay strong and independent, having a support system will help you remain positive throughout the process.
Unless you work for a progressive company like Google that provides IVF benefits, you must factor in the cost of having your eggs frozen. As you can now appreciate, the treatment is super specialised and expensive. It's a good idea to discuss the full cost of the treatment upfront with your doctor and then evaluate your current status or work with your insurance provider to confirm what costs are covered.
What next ?
When I am ready to start a family, I hope to conceive naturally, so that I don't need to use my frozen eggs . I am just creating a safety net for myself right now.
Also, I understand that having my eggs frozen does not guarantee having a baby , but it hugely reduces the risks of my never having a baby. This has left me feeling empowered, in control of my future and frankly, a bit relieved.
I also feel oddly proud that I was able to silence the voices - both inside my head and socially , and be brave enough to take this step, reaffirming that I am the modern, forward thinking woman that I think myself of as being , and have always striven to be.
I share my journey in the hope to alleviate the social stigma around preserving fertility and to extend my whole hearted support to those who have been thinking about egg freezing , but feel too embarrassed, ashamed, scared or alone to do this for whatever reason.
Not leaving your fertility to destiny is a smart thing to do.