On May 16th, Joshua Johnson’s WAMA NPR show 1A included the topic of egg freezing as part of a week long series called Beyond Mother’s Day. I joined guests Sloane Crosley, the author of Look Alive Out There, in which she has an essay about her decision to freeze her eggs. Also on the show: Dr. Joshua U. Klein, the Chief Medical Officer of Extend Fertility, a company that helps women freeze their eggs and Dr. Marcy Darnovsky, the Executive Director at the Center for Genetics and Society, an organization that debates the implications of modern biotechnologies for children, parents and our public health.
I believe that all women should have access to affordable fertility screening and know about egg freezing technology
On the show, we talked about why more women are freezing their eggs and the reasons why so many are making the choice. We also debated the issue of whether we’re overusing this technology because of a lack of affordable child care options and child friendly workplace policies that make having children when we’re biologically fertile more difficult.
I believe that all women should have access to affordable fertility screening and know about egg freezing technology, which is why I offer it in my clinic. But at the same time, companies need to offer better childcare solutions in addition to fertility benefits. And it’s not just for women, but also for men. We are just now seeing a shift where companies with more progressive benefits are offering men significant parental leave. Until we see men and women as equal partners in parenting, we won’t see a positive change for working mothers.
Here’s a snippet of our conversation:
Crosely, on her decision to freeze: I think I wanted to buy more brain space to think about having a baby. It’s interesting how we start suppressing womens’ power to procreate from an early age and then turn it back when it’s getting close to being too late. I froze my eggs because of my ambivalence about having kids, and thinking that I’m certainly not going to regret it if I do end up wanting to have them. It’s certainly one of those things where you have to look at yourself and decide: do I absolutely never want to have them, in which case egg freezing isn’t an option, or am I making an investment in the me who might change my mind down the road?
Me, on the common traits among the patients whose eggs I’ve frozen: There are two main motivators for someone who wants to freeze her eggs:
- There’s the woman who wants to proactively manage her health and give herself the option for the future. I think that there is this myth out there that women are doing it because they love their career so much, but it honestly has to do with the fact that they want future options and they’re not quite ready to become a mom right now.
- The other group are people who need to freeze their eggs for medical reasons, maybe a cancer diagnosis or they’re transgender and transitioning.
Marcy Darnovsky, on why there is such an increase in egg freezing: It’s in part because of the marketing going on, and as a society we’re not doing enough to create conditions in which women have choices through family friendly work policies and affordable childcare options in order to support having children when women are biologically more fertile.
You can listen to full show here.