“Do you think we’ll all still be single and friends with each other in our thirties?”
The year is 2000. A new millennium has dawned, and having recently read and become mildly obsessed with Bridget Jones’ Diary, I am sitting in a bar in Oxford with two of my closest friends from university, musing aloud on our probable futures as carefree thirtysomething singletons. Back at our college, it is likely that an early season episode of Sex and the City is being watched on the communal television, probably by male students who seem to be mostly interested in assessing who is the hottest of the four main characters.
I am nineteen years old and a glimpse of my diaries of the day would reveal endless crushes, lectures and libraries rated on the possibility of bumping into said crushes, and-after watching one of those early episodes of Sex and the City-the immortal line “how come these thirtysomething women have men chatting them up all the time? I’m NINETEEN and I can’t even get a date!”
Leaving aside for a moment the fact that I probably should have spent my undergraduate years doing something more useful than wondering whether “Sexy Marc” was going to be at that morning’s lecture, I will return to the premonition I had of myself and friends, in our thirties and living the single lifestyle that Bridget, Carrie et al made seem so desirable in the early noughties.
It was partly true. Both friends are now happily married. And me-I remained the single one, into my thirties and-as you have probably guessed by the subject matter of this blog-right up until the present day. And, like Bridget and Carrie before me, the time came when I had to take stock of my declining fertility and consider my options. What I decided to do has become the key subject matter of this blog, and you can find more specific details on my journey here. What I didn’t consider, however, was egg freezing.
Egg freezing is one of those subjects that pops up in the news every now and again. If it isn’t Facebook and Apple offering it to their employees as part of their staff benefits packages, then it’s women writing about their own conflicting feelings over the practice.
For me, the answer was clear. It wasn’t just that I wanted a baby, I wanted it now, not at some point in the distant-future-that-might-never-come. My biological clock was ticking so loudly that everything else was rendered inaudible. I had set myself a personal deadline; baby by 2012, just in time for the London Olympics and the Mayan apocalypse.
But 2012 came and went, the apocalypse never materialised and the baby remained elusive. For me, it wasn’t just motherhood itself that was just out of reach, it was the perfect partner with which to procreate.
I was not a Daily Mail stereotype of a career-focused superwoman, battling the patriarchy in a bid to claw her way to the top of her chosen profession before abruptly hitting her thirties and realising that she had to accept the base facts of her biology and get sprogged up before the proverbial egg timer quite literally ran dry (and nor, I am happy to finally see in print here, are the vast majority of women who consider egg freezing). I was just someone who had been unlucky as far as men were concerned.
So would I, possibly, have considered egg freezing? I don’t know, but I do know that I felt the time was right for a baby, and that egg freezing, like all fertility treatments, offers no guarantees, and far fewer success stories than more established treatments. Indeed, the live birth rate from frozen eggs over the past six years currently stands at 1.5%, compared with IVF success rates of around 30% on average. That’s not a basket I want to have my eggs in.
What do you think? Would you consider egg freezing?