On Horses and Eggs

It was Saturday, 4pm at the pub. Jen, Jenna, Katie and I sat at the back table to grab a quick bite to eat before the dinner rush and subsequent madness ensued. We also used the time to catch up on each other's lives.

Jenna discovered that her old flame was dating someone new. Katie had applied for a day job at a local hospital. Jen couldn't sleep the night prior because the couple in the apartment above made too much noise during sex. She reported, that base on the knocking and moaning alone, this nocturnal activity went on for hours on end, every night of the week. And although this was great news to the couple, it presented challenges for Jen who pulled a double shift on Saturday. I could tell Jen was exhausted. The dark circles under her eyes and comatose look told me that if business was slow, Jen would be the first waitresses to get cut for the night.

Maybe it was just the fact that she was tired, but Jen seemed less than receptive to my news of the day.

"Let's see. I planted an herb garden and I am thinking about having my eggs frozen," I began.

"You're what?!?"

The rest of the women, all in their 20s, just looked at me with mouths wide open. Of course, I wouldn't expect young women with their young fertile organs, to understand.

It's a scientific fact that after 34 years of age, a woman's eggs decreases in both quality and quantity. In other words, the harsh reality is that my eggs are rotting. Even if the rate dropped only 10%, a year, at 39 years old, my egg production has been cut in half. I feel like I am about to become an old horse put out to pasture. I thought that by freezing my eggs and preserving my fertility, I might just stave off a trip to the glue factory.

Ok, it's not as desperate as that. But since being happily coupled, I have started to hear the ticking noises coming from my biological clock.

Max had been thinking about it, too.

He had always wanted children, but also understood that should he end up with me, the chances for pregnancy decreased. After some deliberation at the beginning of our relationship, Max decided that he wasn't going to let my fertility challenges stop him from pursuing a serious relationship.

"What's meant to be is meant to be," Max reasoned. "Should that day come, we'd just adopt."

"You know," I said in an effort to offer alternatives, "I have thought about freezing my eggs."

Max's ears perked up and the enthusiastic questions began to roll off his tongue. "You have? What does it entail?"

"I don't know. I haven't researched all the particulars. I never had any real reason before."

Later at the pub, I recalled the conversation to Jen, Jenna, and Katie.

"Why don't you and Max just go ahead and have a baby? If it doesn't work out, so what? It's not as if you can't afford a child," suggested Jenna.

"We haven't spent enough time together to make that sort of leap. Besides I don't want to rush things." I replied.

"Freezing eggs sounds expensive," Katie piped in. "Would Max help pay for the procedure?"

Even though I'm sure he'd offer, I doubt I'd ever let Max pay for freezing my eggs. After all, these aren't shared embryos. They are solely and wholly MY eggs. I mean, seriously, what if Max and I broke up? Would my eggs become our communal property and therefore subject to settlement discussions? Would I need to draft some crazy custody agreement for my frozen eggs? No, I wouldn't want the hassle or obligation.

But just how expensive would freezing my eggs be? What was the success rate with this new technology? What was involved in the procedure? The questions preoccupied my mind. I decided to do some research.

As it turns out, while freezing semen is now almost commonplace, freezing eggs is still experimental. And from all the women who have paid $10,000 to have their eggs frozen, only 13 children have been born from these eggs since October 2005. In addition, since the program is so new, long term effects of the cryogenic process have yet to be determined.

But as if all of this news wasn't bad enough, here was the real kicker. After all my research I discovered that I might have put the proverbial egg cart before the horse. As it turns out, cryogenically speaking, I'm already out to pasture. I'm not a desirable candidate for the procedure because I'M TOO OLD. Many cryogenic labs do not even take women over 38 years old because of the problems with egg quality. In other words, glue factory--here I come.

I shared my bad news with Max, who put his reassuring spin on the situation. What's meant to be is meant to be. Should that day ever come, Max and I will explore the options available to us. And as for me, I determined that frozen eggs and fertility don't really matter. This is one old horse that will continue to gallop toward the direction of the sun and just opposite of any glue factory.


utenzi said...

Eggs are serious cells and don't take well to freezing, Diane. Sperm, on the other hand (ewww!), are simple little critters as well as a lot more plentiful so freezing works just fine. Even if you lose 80% of them to the freezing process it doesn't matter.

As for money--jacking off is quite inexpensive whereas grabbing those eggs is a real surgical procedure. The ovaries aren't exactly easy access. I can see why you'd want to do it though, Diane. Besides, you don't have to decide on kids immediately if you stick with Max --freezing fertilized eggs is less experimental so you can hold off time that way still...

evercurious said...

I have two friends whose mothers got pregnant later on in life. My mom was in her mid thirties, Dee's mom was in her late thirties and Lisa's mom was in her early forties. I think Max is a smart man. You never know what could happen. Keep your chin up and have a good day!

Brenda said...

As an adopted child... okay, I'm an adult now, adoption is always a good option.

I know my adoptive parents would of loved to of had children of their loins, but couldn't, and not because of age, so they had to adopt... they eventually got 4 children from 4 different parts of the US and we love each other greatly!