When eggs are mentioned in passing, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? A ‘Lets get cracking’ healthy eating commercial and your daily dietary requirements? Or perhaps images of little pink bunnies carrying delicious Easter chocolates for all to enjoy? Well for many women the only thought that this word evokes are those of their ovaries and the ticking time clock that Mother Nature has imposed on their ability to get pregnant. Although this may seem like an odd correlation, the trend of pre-parental angst is growing by the year.
Within my practise I see numerous couples that are struggling to contour their lives to fit within this baby-making timeframe. More and more women are stepping into my office with a troubled disposition, complaining that they’re just not ready, as their careers have barely begun, and they’re not willing to push all they have worked for to the side just because Mother Nature is blatantly waving her ticker in their face. Well new research just may have the key to helping these women delay childbirth until after they have fulfilled their other ambitions.
A new procedure is leading the way in reproductive health and has some researchers claiming that it is much more effective than our current IVF (In vitro fertilization) procedures, as it has a near perfect success rate (compared to IVF which gives women approximately a 1 in 3 chance of conception). The procedure costs just over $6,000 CND and takes no more than a couple of hours under general anesthetic. By extracting approximately a third of the tissue from only one of a woman’s ovaries, scientists are able to obtain and freeze close to 60,000 eggs. These are then frozen and stored until the woman feels she is ready to have children. At that time, the eggs are thawed and implanted back into her ovary, providing the woman with not only the same number of eggs, but the same quality of eggs she had earlier in life.
This procedure is recommended for those in their 20’s – when women are at their most fertile – however it can be done on women in their 30’s as well. The benefits of this new method are countless, however a main advantage seems to be that after the extraction has been done, the woman is still left with over 80% of her total ovarian tissue. This means that even if she changes her mind and decides to have children right away, her system is still equipped with hundreds of thousands of eggs that are ready and willing to become fertilized. This procedure is also gaining popularity among cancer patients as well. Since chemotherapy can greatly affect ones fertility, many women have chosen to extract their eggs before undergoing cancer treatments to ensure future parenting plans.
So who should consider this new procedure? Any couple who wishes to experience the joys of parenthood perhaps a little later in life than previous generations, and/or cancer victims that still hold onto the hopes of reproduction. Regardless of its benefits however, the procedure does evoke some controversy: having children later in life (women in their 40’s and 50’s deciding they are ready for egg replantation) can cause healthcare concerns for both mother and child. Although the majority of women who deliver their first child after the age of 35 are healthy and have positive birth outcomes, the possible negative effects of later conception do tend to increase with age.
As a sex therapist who sees numerous couples struggling with the anxiety and stress surrounding pregnancy timing, I can tell you that this procedure can be a godsend to those who can afford it. The results for these individuals? Less family planning stress and a decrease in baby-making pressure. Oh, and thoughts of chocolate covered Easter eggs dancing in their heads.