Magazin

 
 
 
27.09.2011
Tick Tock: My Egg Freezing Experience (and the Desire to Control the Biological Clock)

I'm twenty-eight. I won't pretend to be wise. I won't tell you why you're not married with kids. I strongly believe that every woman has her own path. But here's one thing I do know: I'm more fertile now than I'll ever be, and I'm definitely not ready for motherhood. For several twenty-and thirty-something women, our emotional, professional, and financial peaks happen far later than our reproductive ones. And I'm going to say it: it's not fair.

As I edge dangerously close to thirty and dangle a little too close to thirty-five, my eggs will start to die, rapidly. Most of my girlfriends in their late twenties and early thirties are married and on the verge of starting families. That leaves the rest of us young, heterosexual single ladies who want biological children with the following options:

a) Get lucky and/or well-adjusted enough to meet Mr. Right before thirty-five;

b) Settle for Mr. Decent by thirty six or thirty seven so that you have a chance at having kids without
    spending thousands of dollars on in-vitro fertilization;

c) Wait until thirty six or thirty seven and use a sperm donor and become a single mom;

d) Wait until you're forty, settle for Mr. Decent at lightning speed and plan on using IVF or an egg
    donor;

e) Some combination of the above.

This is not a feminist, men-bashing, see-how-we-don't-need-them exposé. In fact, this has nothing to do with men. There are plenty of good ones out there, appropriate matches who are my age, ready to settle down and start families. I've met them. I've dated them. My friends married them. And it's my own fault I'm not interested in them, yet.

Also, I'm not single because I'm a fat, ugly genius or gorgeous and vapid. There's still a misnomer that single women pushing thirty are fatally flawed or intimidating in some way, physically or mentally. No, I'm not a Victoria's Secret supermodel or a savant. I'm tall and pretty. I have nice features and good hair. I'm funny. I'm well-educated and articulate.

I'm also a mess. I'm fearful, obsessive, and prone to depression and negative thinking. Right now I'd make a terrible mother. But some day, I want the option. I want the insurance. I find myself angry at men because they can have babies into their 70s. I look at all men as future Picassos who will leave me for younger, fertile women once my eggs have expired. It's not a healthy perspective and I've decided to do something about it. I'm freezing my eggs.

Don't mistake this for a self-pitying, whiny, sarcastic hipster commentary either. I'm not married with kids because I'm not meant to be or don't want to be, yet. As I embark on finding a healthy relationship, one thing becomes clear: men can smell desperation and anxiety from a mile away. And I'm worried about my biological clock every single day. Although statistics show that more women than ever are having babies at forty, it seems every article I read has to do with my wimpy, aging ovaries. I was born with all I'm going to get and can never get them back.

These articles are scary warnings that young women should not rely on having babies in our late thirties or early forties. Despite personal and professional successes, birthdays now mean one thing: Hurtling toward the destruction of my poor little ova! I'm focused on the clock, not the relationship.

I'm fortunate in that I'm financially stable and independent. But before you scoff or judge, know that this was due in large part to a savings account padded by the tragic, untimely death of my father. I'm telling you this because I know that most young women cannot afford the $12,000 required for egg freezing, which is not yet covered by insurance. Most 28-year-old women are still paying off student loans. I desperately wish that the relatively new technology of oocyte cryopreservation would become more affordable and accessible because the decision to delay motherhood has given me more peace of mind than any choice I've ever made.

I guess you could say I'm unlucky in love, but the truth is that I have attachment and intimacy issues stemming from an enmeshed family and a dysfunctional childhood. In layman's terms, I make bad choices. I've dated men who my psychiatrist likes to call "chronically unavailable," because they are wrong for women in one crucial way or another.

First, there was my graduate school professor who I dated on and off for a year, one of those 47-year-old never-been-married, brilliant, charming, articulate types who has undiagnosed Asperger's and drives a sports car. Then, there was the Hollywood producer type, the divorced new age guru who meditated and didn't care about material things except for his Ferrari (which he polished daily), who already had kids my age and wasn't interested in settling down.

And, just when I thought I was done making bad choices, I met the guy I could have sworn was "the one," a perfect, neurotic blend of my parents: a funny, smart, irreverent, and charming accountant by day, Kung Fu instructor by night. I wanted to buy the house and have the kids until I discovered he was a sexual anorexic/bulimic (repelled by sex and intimacy and avoided it for years at a time then "binged" by feasting on women like me who have trouble saying no to nebbishy men with chiseled abs and mommy issues ). He really liked me but felt "entitled" to date model-actresses instead. He became a close friend who I'll always secretly (or blatantly) be in love with for all the wrong reasons.

Bottom line: he was no "Baby Daddy." The others weren't candidates either. But unconsciously I knew that. I chose them because I wasn't ready for the real deal.

Apparently I have time to find a partner. Women in their mid-to-late thirties and forties who are already married with kids love to tell me how much time I have. That's of course, unless I want kids. That's the game changer. That meant I better start taking folic acid and join an online dating site. Since I was a child I never dreamed of a big white dress or perfect floral arrangements or a princess cut engagement ring, but I always wanted to be pregnant. I also wanted to adopt a baby, which I'd love to do. But I'd rather have the wisdom and self-confidence and emotional stability that come with age, rather than the energy and zeal of young motherhood.

So, when I make my appointment at the fertility clinic, I feel an enormous sense of relief. When I walk into the doctor's office, she looks at me like I'm a time bomb waiting to go off and then takes a deep breath when she realizes she has more than a few minutes to deactivate me.

"You're so young," she says. "Mainly we see women here on their last legs who are desperate to stop the clock." In fertility terms, "last leg" means late thirties. It's as though women pushing forty are thoroughbreds sent to the stable who have only a decent chance of being used for breeding.

"We wish a lot more young women would decide that now's the time to freeze their eggs," the doctor says. She tells me I will have to inject myself with ovary-stimulating hormones three times daily for twelve days in order to prepare for a one day outpatient surgery, where a needle will be guided by ultrasound to extract the eggs.

"Let's do it," I say. I'm not ready for much, but I'm ready for this.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-korman/tick-tock-my-egg-freezing_b_834302.html

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