Why Understanding Fertility is Important for Egg Freezing
A heartfelt warning: we’re beginning to deep dive into the waters of egg freezing and what it really is, which means we’re going to be discussing your lady parts and aspects of womanhood that can be REALLY emotional. Think of us as your life jacket, maybe your buoy. If any of this becomes too overwhelming, take a break, drop us a line directly, or maybe lie back and conjure up an image of the best cool breeze on your own imaginary island and then return here when you’re ready. Perhaps this helps: at Trellis we’re doing this work because it’s personal for us, too.
When it comes to fertility, timing is everything…as is true for, what, like, all things in life? Now, where was that class, “Timing” in college? In the U.S., which, according to the National Center for Health Statistics is currently experiencing a record-low birth rate, some women are postponing pregnancy until it’s too late. Ok, but truthfully, postponing seems a harsh word in this context. Modern society, in partnership with its unhealthy and slightly abusive relationship with technology, has created an expectation of breakneck speed on the daily. Gone is the breezy, laidback Route 66 with its alluring detours and wildflowers to be smelled. When life seems to be measured in constant achievements and milestones, more and more people are stressed to the max to succeed and achieve what they can while they can. This makes family planning and the time it requires nearly impossible. Or seem that way.
American women – especially some younger, more entrepreneurial driven – tend to be big planners though. And, as many have become painfully aware, it’s shockingly easy to work their way straight through their peak fertility years without carving out the time to have a baby. After that first trickle of menstrual blood circa age 13, we spend lots of time and effort trying to prevent pregnancy. Later, after ticking off a few key boxes in life, many of us begin hoping for that test to come back positive. Sometimes we’ve waited almost too long.
While statistically it’s harder for women to get pregnant as they age, some have the option of preserving eggs and/or living a fertile-friendly lifestyle to optimize egg production and ovulation.
Eggs Are a Numbers Game. What Does Your Fertility Look Like?
Women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have, and, over time, most of these eggs will die without ever being ovulated. In a regular menstrual cycle, a woman will ovulate one mature egg, and all of the other immature eggs will die off. Via statistics gathered by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), here’s just how steeply a woman’s egg supply declines over the course of her life:
- At birth: Between 1 and 2 million
- At puberty: 300K to 500K
- At 37: 25K
- At 51, the average age of menopause in the U.S., she has: 1000
That’s a drop from 7 million to a mere 25k right around the age most modern, driven, business-minded women get serious about starting a family. And sadly, hardly any are told about fertility facts and options.
The Actual Process, Oocyte Cryopreservation.
In this process, a woman’s eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen, and stored as a method to preserve reproductive potential. Generally, storage can be around 5-10 years. This is medically known as “mature oocyte cryopreservation”, egg freezing, which was originally developed for women with cancer, just a few decades ago. According to the Global Donor Egg Bank, the first report of a frozen egg pregnancy was recorded In 2005. The first “frozen-egg baby” was born in California, with eggs that had been thawed after four years of cryopreservation.
You probably have so many more questions, and we have so many more answers to give. This info above is just a START. We’ll be continuing to write about all fertility-related topics here, or we are always one email or phone call away.
Your Trellis Team