Over the last few months, I know I haven't written much about fertility or trying to conceive much, but, I am happy to break the ice with an interview I recently completed with actress Elizabeth Higgins Clark.
Read my interview with Elizabeth Higgins Clark to gain more insight into her reasons behind freezing her eggs, along with her options for the future since freezing them.
BATB: Since you stated that at 32, you are no longer able to donate eggs, what advice do you give to someone who has missed that mark?
EHC: The cut off to be an egg donor in the US is 32. That doesn't mean that your eggs are "bad" at 32. It just is indicative of which ages you're more likely to produce prime eggs. I'm grateful to have come across that information while I was still in my 20's and hope that all women will be exposed to these facts and statistics while they still have time to explore all of their options.
BATB: There are people who think that preserving your eggs just to focus on your career is selfish. What do you have to say to people with that particular opinion?
EHC: I don't think there is anything selfish about how and when a woman chooses to become a mother. Becoming a parent is the greatest commitment you can ever make. Some people are ready to make it earlier than others. But no way is "better" than others.
BATB: One of the reasons you stated you chose to freeze your eggs was because you didn't want to have to constantly administer injections or experience the soreness and pain associated with egg retrievals. There are women who are younger than you doing the same thing, except it isn't by choice, but because they’re infertile. What would you tell those women?
EHC: I didn't actually say that. I said that given the choice I would prefer to only have to go thru [sic] the egg freezing process once. It's uncomfortable and very expensive. Many women undergo multiple rounds of freezing because if you start in your late 30's there is a greater chance you won't produce a large harvest. You're much more likely to only need to do it once if you start at a younger age.
I know many women who have had to go thru [sic] many rounds of IVF and I greatly admire their strength and tenacity.
BATB: I’m all too familiar with the mood swings fertility drugs put you through. How do you manage? What advice do you give someone to help get them through?
EHC: Well, I only went through it for a month. And I must say my experience was pretty mild, at least in my opinion. You'd have to ask my family and friends if I was particularly moody!
I think the best thing you can do is remember why you're doing all this. We are undergoing these procedures because we want to be mothers. And that can be very calming.
BATB: Although your end result is having 16 eggs waiting for you, but, do you feel as though you should go home away with more, like a baby after going through everything from invasive doctor’s visits, injections, pain, etc.?
EHC: Nope. I knew what I was getting into when I started. And frankly, the reason I froze my eggs is because I'm not ready for a baby now. So to go home with one wasn't my goal.
BATB: You also stated you know that there is a chance the eggs you did freeze may not result in a successful pregnancy? If that does happen, how do you think you’ll feel about you decision then?
EHG: I'm sure I'd be quite upset about it. But, as I've said before, I'm aware that is a possibility. I made this decision with my eyes wide open.
BATB: Let’s say you meet the man of your dreams within a year or two, and you decide to or accidentally get pregnant, what will happen with the 16 eggs you preserved? Will you consider donating your eggs?
EHC: If I ever get to a point where I no longer need the eggs, I would certainly consider donating them. There are a lot of wonderful people in the world who want to be parents. I think egg donation can be a great gift.
BATB: How long are you planning on keeping your eggs frozen? At what age do you think you’ll be ready?
EHG: You know after I had gone thru [sic] the egg freezing process, I decided to give myself a full year off from thinking about when I will be ready. I froze my eggs in May of 2014, so I still have a few more months left on that year. So, I'm going to make good on that promise to myself and just say "I don't know yet."
BATB: I know I do not want to have children passed the age of 35. I would like to offer my children my best self, as far as my health, and being [physically] active in their lives. I know that passed that age, the idea of late nights and early mornings, or running around behind a toddler is already exhausting.
EHC: I must say that I don't think older mothers deprive their children of their "best selves". I think women are capable of determining an appropriate time to have a baby. Whether that be earlier or later, as long as a parent is present, really present…I think that's what determines good parenting.
BATB: At what age would you consider using a surrogate, if at all, should your career take off later than expected?
EHC: Again, that would depend on where I'm at physically. I wouldn't put a definite age on something like that.
BATB: Fertile/Infertile, what advice do you have for women thinking about freezing their eggs in hopes of having a child in the future?
EHC: Know your options. Educate yourself. We do a pretty poor job of fertility education in this country. Hopefully with time that will change.
Both Facebook and Apple recently announced plans to offer female employees elective egg freezing as a medical health benefit for women and this is a trend that Elizabeth would like to see more companies offer.
What do you think about Elizabeth Higgins Clark's choice to freeze her eggs in hopes of taking charge of her fertility? Would you do it?
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