I got divorced after my husband said he didn't want kids. I froze my eggs at 36 to take the pressure off.
- I had always planned on having children with my husband, but our divorce shattered my plans.
- Despite my reservations, I decided to freeze my eggs to give myself options when I felt powerless.
We were sitting on a swinging bench in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, when my husband said, "I don't want to have kids anymore."
"You don't want kids now — or ever?" I asked. He was quiet for a long time, so long that his silence was an answer.
Later that evening, we had dinner at a fancy restaurant, held hands on the way home, and then had sex — with a condom because my husband had decided he didn't want to be a father.
Then four months later, when I was 31, he left me for another woman. I was heartbroken and had a fraction of my egg reserve.
In 2022, five years later, I was 36 and single. I'd spent my peak reproductive years married to a man who told me he wanted to become a father, only to decide otherwise, and my declining reproductive years grieving my marriage.
Time felt scarce. A pregnancy at 36 is considered geriatric by obstetric standards, but I didn't feel ready to be a mother or want to become one alone. I knew, though, that someday I might. Freezing my eggs offered an option.
The financial, emotional, and physical costs of egg freezing are high
In my video consultation, Dr. K, a fertility specialist, told me that on average, a woman my age froze 12 viable eggs. While 12 eggs may sound like a lot, many of these eggs don't survive the thawing, fertilization, and placement inside the uterus, which results in only a 67% chance of having one child.
This seemed like a poor return on investment: I'd spend over $10,000, inject shots into my abdomen for two weeks, and schlep uptown for daily vaginal ultrasounds and bloodwork. Then I'd go under general anesthesia for my retrieval, endure bloating, pain, and cramping during recovery. On top of that, I'd pay $100 a month to store them.
I wondered whether it was worth it, given the average success rate for women my age. When I questioned this, she said, "You can always do it again." The costs were so high, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to do it once.
I'd rather radically accept my life than try to control it
There is a version of me who accepts a future with or without children. But the version of me who decided to freeze my eggs feels more comfortable when she's in control.
The day after surgery, the doctor told me that of the 15 eggs harvested, nine were mature and viable. I had a 58% chance of having one child.
My controlling self was disappointed. Many women told me freezing my eggs would offer comfort and take pressure off. That success rate hardly offered relief. Again, I wondered whether it was worth it.
I have to be open to all possibilities
After yo-yoing between one-night stands and not dating at all, I have spent the past several years dating intentionally. But something prevents me from finding the kind of partner I could commit to and raise a family with. Perhaps it's my fear of betrayal and another divorce, or maybe I just haven't met the right person yet.
Motherhood always seemed like something I'd pursue alongside a partner, until now. I want to embark on the journey of parenthood with a partner, yet I find myself without one. I've been considering whether having a child means raising them on my own.
The version of me who wanted control decided to freeze my eggs. But the me who may use them someday will have to be willing to accept all possible outcomes.
I'm doing my best to become that version of myself. If and when that happens, my eggs will be waiting.
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