Lately I have noticed that my fellow bloggers, and fertility educators are looking at the sociological issues that are raised by the advances in reproductive science. There is lots of talk about egg freezing and it’s how there is the possibility that through egg freezing women may have a more complete ability to have reproductive choice. Specifically, that egg freezing may allow women the possibility of having children when they were ready.
But there are those that ask the question “is anyone ever really ready to have children – and what exactly does being ready to have kids mean?”
What if we became a culture where frozen gametes was the standard – and everyone could choose when they would conceive? What would the world look like? Would the world be filled with middle aged first time Mom’s?
Well, the world is currently filled with many middle aged first time Mothers through the miracle of egg donation. The fact is that (don’t you love it when people say “the fact is”!!!) as women our biological lives have not kept up with our sociological lives. Mother nature is not a feminist. There is a reason why the best egg donors are college kids!!! But do you want your college kid to have a baby? Or be an egg donor? How would you feel if you daughter wanted to be an egg donor? Does that give you pause? It’s complicated, right?
Is college kids being recruited as egg donors for women who didn’t know about their biological clock really a better idea than teaching college kids about their own fertility window and offering them egg freezing so that they could be their own egg donor when the time was right for them to parent? I think so….
The evolution of egg freezing is not going to change the fact that many women want and need to have children later in life than their biological clocks allow. In my tour around the country even the nurses at ob/gyn offices think that fertility BEGINS to decline after age 37! They are only off by ten very important years!!! How women view themselves and age is very different than our realities. And often the choices that women are making fit much better with their lack of understanding about their fertility than with raw facts about ovarian reserve. That is one of the reason’s that I want all women to get Fertility Evaluations as routinely as they get pap smears!
So….back to the core question! Are you ever really ready to have a baby? I guess that would mean that you really, really understand what it is to parent. And as a parent – I would say that no one is ever completely ready for the challenges of parenthood!!! Kids certainly know how to throw those curve balls! But I certainly wanted certain things in place before I jumped off that particular ledge – even if I didn’t totally understand that parenting meant more than the fantasy of a beautiful, chubby baby to hold.
Many women want a life partner in their lives before they start building their families. And sometimes finding that person takes time – even if that person does not always work out! Many of us want to start out in the world of parenting with that certain special someone. With egg freezing – women would not have to feel that biological pressure to run that partner down with a truck and drag them home by the hair to procreate. Many women in today’s world have careers – and often they don’t feel like they are in a place to take a break for child bearing until they are older than what mother nature had planned. Egg freezing would also help these women out tremendously. Egg donation is a wonderful family building option – but if I had the choice to use my own previously frozen eggs over donor eggs – I would be my own egg donor. I think that many women would feel the same way as I do.
We have already changed the land scape of age and parenting through egg donation, surrogacy and expanding the ages that people can adopt. That particular change has already happened – and I prefer the idea that women bank their own eggs when they are younger - rather than recruiting young women for fees – to donate for them later.
The right time to have a baby? Well, that is a very personal choice – just like using birth control – or abortion. The right time means many different things to many different people. For some folks there will never be a right time – and for the mother of 16 kids on a reality TV show that I some times flip by – the right time seems to be all the time!!!
I love the idea of women having reproductive choice. I love the idea that reproductive technology is helping mother nature along in giving women the ability to be able to make better choices for their lives. Will it all be perfect? No – it will probably not be. The technology may in the end not work for them. The eggs may remain frozen until they decide to discard them….because for some – the right time may end up being never. And those pesky kids – I for one may never have been ready – if I knew the full scope on parent hood!
But I will continue to advocate for women to get the facts about safer sex, birth control, issues of choice, fertility evaluations, egg freezing, and biological clock education. I don’t have daughters – I have sons. And one day – they will each hopefully meet a beautiful woman and give me grand children!!! This will only happen if my future daughter in laws have had the education and opportunities to make informed decisions about their reproductive lives. And if they decide that it is the right time for them to have a baby!!!