June 15, 2011
DENVER — There are Tupperware parties, jewelry parties and now egg parties. Wednesday night, dozens of women gathered at Canvas and Cocktails to learn about freezing their eggs in order to become pregnant later in life.
“I am not desperate,” said Jennifer Hayes, who froze her eggs. “I am not panicked yet. I am not going to be that girl.”
Hayes spoke to the crowd of women and medical providers about her experience and why she chose to freeze her eggs when she turned 35.
“I am not embarrassed about it at all,” said Hayes.
Hayes owns The Sweet Life, a restaurant in Telluride.
“I didn’t make a conscious decision to say, ‘I want to have a career and put my family life, my potential marriage on hold,'” said Hayes.
Life happened and then Hayes said she realized she was 35-years-old. It’s not old, unless you’re an egg.
“Our mental and physical state is so different than what is happening in our ovaries,” said Hayes.
“Fertility really starts declining at 30,” said Dr. William Schoolcraft of Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. “At 35 it starts to drop off quickly.”
Schoolcraft said the average age of women having their first child used to be 25, now it’s 35. So more women are now turning to doctors, like Schoolcraft to freeze their eggs.
“This way they can put the eggs away, have the lifestyle they want and if they marry late and their eggs have declined they can sort of be their own egg donor,” said Schoolcraft.
Egg freezing has been taking place since 1987, but the science has come a long way in the last four years.
CCRM uses a method of cryo-preservation known as vitrification.
“You put (the eggs) in a cryo-protectant, which dehydrates them and then they go plunging directly into liquid nitrogen,” said Schoolcraft. “Now the eggs work about as well as fresh eggs.”
Vitrification, unlike slow cooling, avoids the damage to the cell invoked by ice crustal formation.
The process is not cheap, costing $12,000-$15,000. But for some women, it’s the best option for having a healthy, viable egg available whenever they decide to get pregnant.
“As your eggs get older, Down syndrome and other chromosomal problems go up,” said Schoolcraft. “So another advantage of having your eggs frozen at 35 is if you are now 42, using a 35-year-old egg gives you a much lower risk of Down syndrome.”
Hayes said she was able to afford the procedure because her parents helped her pay. She said if she didn’t freeze her eggs and waited to have kids, there was a high probability she would need to go through in-vitro fertilization anyway. She said now she has paid half of that cost.
“I refuse to be directed by my biological clock,” said Hayes.
Author: Dayle Cedars
Channel 7 News