Why I Chose to Freeze My Eggs
A woman's choice to freeze her eggs is very personal and reasons and results vary. Here is one woman's story about her experience freezing her eggs for a future pregnancy.
Feb 06, 2019Your Health
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By Lola Banjo
To many, matters regarding fertility and reproductive health are highly personal. People tend to be less open about their experiences, sometimes even with other family members. Minority women, especially, feel ashamed to undergo treatments like egg freezing for fear of being judged.
But seeking out assisted reproductive technologies, whether for social or health reasons, is nothing to be ashamed about. It simply means women are now more aware of all the options that science has created to make it possible to have a chance of becoming a mother.
While my reason for freezing my eggs was a social one, the pervasiveness of the stigma meant that when I was researching the process, it was hard to find women within my social sphere who had been open about freezing their eggs or were willing to discuss their experience.
This hesitation to share can cause feelings of isolation, as we are unaware that there are many other women experiencing similar things. Michelle Obama recently alluded to this in her book where she discusses her in vitro fertilization (IVF) journey and having a miscarriage. She recalls feeling like a failure, ashamed and lonely, until she realized she was not alone.
Here is my own story.
From a young age, having children has been one of my greatest life goals. While many girls dreamed of their wedding day, I'd fast forward to becoming a mother. By high school, I even had names picked out—but I first wanted to have a career, gain financial independence and a find suitable partner to raise children with.
At 28, I was well on my way. I had just graduated from a top MBA program, started my career at a top consulting firm and was newly engaged to a man I thought was the love of my life. The plan was to have my first kid at 30, shortly after we married, my second at 32, and my third at 34.
But then my relationship ended, and I was so devastated and heartbroken that I swore off relationships for the next three years to protect myself from another heartbreak.
When I was ready to date again, I had a moment of panic. I could no longer ward off the not-so-gentle nudges from my family that it was time to start a family. The pressure was so intense that even though I was thriving in other aspects, I felt like a failure because I was starting over and not close to being married.
I began to put a lot of pressure on myself to make every relationship work out because time was ticking. It became an up-and-down rollercoaster of finally liking someone, emotionally investing in our relationship, then realizing we were not a great match and having to go back to the drawing board. I no longer enjoyed dating—it felt more like a draining task that needed to be done. I'd wonder if every guy sitting across the table from me on a first date could potentially become my husband and the father of my children.
I knew I needed to re-center. I wanted to date (and have fun doing so), take the time to properly get to know someone and let the relationship blossom without the pressure of stressing about the future. I didn't want to compromise on finding "the one," but knowing my fertility wouldn't necessarily "wait," when my ob-gyn brought up the idea of egg freezing, I knew she was right. In July, I started the process.
What I Learned About Egg Freezing—and In Vitro Fertilization
Technically, a woman can naturally conceive until she reaches menopause, but it becomes harder with time. What egg freezing attempts to do is freeze time—that is, preserve a woman's eggs when they are of higher quality.
Here are some lessons I learned from for my egg freezing procedure:
In the end, every woman will have a different experience. So while it's good to share our stories, be careful about comparing them. Our bodies are different and two seemingly similar women could have drastically different experiences and results due to factors beyond their control.
When I'm ready to start a family, I hope to conceive naturally, but having my frozen eggs just in case makes me feel relieved, empowered and less pressured in my dating.
If you're also considering freezing your eggs, I commend you on making this important decision. What you are about to embark on won't be easy, but if all works well, it will be worth it. Though you might feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. You are strong and amazing. You can do it!
Lola Banjo is a corporate strategist and innovation executive with a passion for advancing women and underrepresented minorities. She has spent the majority of her career helping large organizations achieve strategic goals through a blend of analysis, partnering and creative problem solving and she uses the same thinking to ideate on tangible ways to address social issues. Her personal passion for and commitment to serving others has led her to her work as Board Director at Mouse.org, an organization that supports youth from underserved demographics via a technology education, and as a committee member of FACE Africa, an organization addressing water and sanitation issues in sub-Saharan Africa. She holds a B.S. in Materials Engineering w/ minors in Mathematics, Economics and Computer Science from Rutgers University, a M.S. in Financial Engineering and a Grad Certificate in Risk Management from New York University, and a MBA in Strategy, Finance and Decision Sciences from Emory University. She has also studied at top schools around the world including FGV Rio (Brazil), WHU Koblenz (Germany), RSM Erasmus (Netherlands), The London School of Economics and SDA Bocconi (Italy). She is an avid photographer and world traveler, having visited 100+ countries and counting.