TomorrowMakers

Time and again, women are faced with the unfair choice of picking either motherhood or a career. While societal expectations may not allow these to coexist, modern technology thankfully offers an option.

Thinking of prioritizing your career over having kids

Egg freezing or oocyte cryopreservation is a process of extracting, freezing, and storing a woman’s eggs (oocytes) as a method to preserve reproductive potential. The Ferticity Fertility clinic showcases a 95% survival rate of frozen oocytes. However, it isn't uncommon that there are women who may not find this alternative solution ideal in their journey towards motherhood.

Statistically speaking, there are varied reasons why women may choose to freeze their eggs. For all the reasons that seem right to you, let’s take a closer look at the concept of egg freezing. The process can be considered more specifically for the following reasons:

  • You have a medical condition that can affect your fertility
  • Cancer treatment or another illness is affecting your ability to get pregnant
  • You’re undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • You wish to preserve younger eggs now for future use

Related: Women at work: How are they faring – at home and abroad?

What is the process of freezing eggs?

In broader terms, the process involves stimulating the ovaries with injectable hormones to produce multiple eggs. Once the follicles are ready, following a window of 10-14 days, the process of retrieval takes place under the presence of sedation. 

A common approach is transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, wherein an ultrasound probe is inserted to identify the follicles. A needle is then guided into a follicle, with a suction device connected, to remove the egg from the follicle. Multiple eggs can be removed. They are then stored in a lab, where they are cooled to subzero temperatures to be thawed at a later date.

After egg retrieval, you might experience cramping. Feelings of fullness or pressure might continue for weeks because your ovaries remain enlarged.

Related: A working woman's guide to maintaining work-life balance

How safe is freezing eggs?

It is important to note that this procedure does come with its potential set of risks and implications that need to be carefully considered.

Fertility drugs can cause swollen and painful ovaries soon after egg retrieval (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). Symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea may be seen. There’s a rare possibility of developing a more severe form of the syndrome that can be life-threatening.

There's a rare possibility that the aspirating needle used to retrieve eggs can cause bleeding, infection, or damage to the bowel, bladder, or a blood vessel.

Related: Quitting your job to be a full-time mother? Here are 8 things you must consider

How much does it cost to freeze eggs?

Cost for the egg retrieval and freezing process may vary between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh. An alternative method to only retain them in the frozen state has an annual cost between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000.

Last words

As women, we often fall prey to unsolicited advice on major life decisions such as marriage, motherhood, career, etc. These remain extremely personal to each individual and must be handled with sensitivity. Often, phrases such as ‘your biological clock is ticking’ are thrown around casually without paying heed to the effect it could have on somebody. A woman should be allowed to choose motherhood, a career, or even both, without any pressure.