Monday, February 24, 2014

Should I freeze my eggs ?


We are increasingly seeing a different kind of woman  in our clinic these days. They are not infertile. These are women who are in their 30s, who want to learn more about testing and preserving their fertility.  They are not interested in getting pregnant right now - and some of them are not even married. However, they just want to ensure that by postponing child bearing in order to pursue their career, they are not risking their future fertility.

This is because these are smart, well-informed women, who have done their homework for themselves. They are finding out that some of their friends are having problems conceiving and they are worried that they may find themselves in the same boat., These women know that they have a biological clock which is ticking away, thanks to the internet.

Interestingly, a lot of them are being sent to us by their parents, who want to become grandparents at some point, before their daughters run our of eggs all together ! They would like them to complete their families when they are young , and have good quality eggs, rather than risk damaging their ovarian reserve  and then having fertility issues later on , because they chose to pursue an MBA or went off on a plum overseas assignment or promotion.

Young woman are aware of the fact that it's hard to have your cake and eat it too , and they often need to make difficult decisions , involving trade-offs between pursuing further education or having a baby . A big problem is that they because they are highly educated, affluential and very smart, they are finding it increasingly difficult to find men who meet their high standards. They are forced to postpone marriage, because their just aren’t enough good guys around !

The good news is that these women are now empowered enough to make well-informed decisions for themselves. In the past, they were forced to depend on their doctor, and  sadly a lot of doctors were quite clueless about the importance of testing for ovarian reserve.  This is true , not just of family physicians, but of many gynecologists as well, most of whom are much more interested in delivering babies and taking care of gynecological problems , rather than preventing fertility problems, Also, because fertility preservation is such a new field, most doctors still don’t know much about what is involved.

Thanks to advances in technology , it's quite easy for young women to test their ovarian reserve themselves. This just needs a vaginal ultrasound scan, to check the antral follicle count ; and a blood test to measure their  AMH level. These tests are easy and inexpensive , and interpreting them is straightforward. However, what to do with the information they provide is a decision women need to make for themselves. Some may decide to defer doing the MBA, because they believe that a baby is worth much more than an MBA.  Others may find the information reassuring, so they are more comfortable about taking the promotion , because they feel they have enough time to postpone childbearing.

The even better news is that we now have technological solutions , so that we can actually stop the biological clock . We can do this by freezing the eggs , so that it’s possible for women to have their cake and eat it as well – biology is no longer destiny, and this technology can empower women to puruse both a  career and a family without making any compromises.

It's important for young women to do their homework for themselves , so that they make well-informed decisions . They should have no regrets later in life, .Egg freezing is now robust technology with excellent results. It does not involve any surgery, and has no risks if done in a good clinic. If you can afford it, I’d suggest it’s a biological insurance policy which is worth exploring !

Want to learn more about egg freezing ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/conversations so that I can guide you better !

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