- Does egg freezing represent an advance for women, and for society?
For women to thrive, society needs to ensure that they have the true freedom to make the choices that they want to make. When it comes to reproductive ageing, the reality is that nature has created gender inequality. A woman's reproductive clock ticks much quicker than a man's. There is a sharp and proven decline in a woman’s egg reserve, and thus her fertility, after the age of 38.
Politicians and sociologists fight for gender equality through equality in work and pay and better access to childcare – which we must continue to fight for as basic female rights. However, fertility issues are often overlooked. If a woman chooses to delay motherhood, whether to progress her career or because she hasn’t yet found the right partner, we should be supporting her decision. The latest technology for egg freezing offers an opportunity to preserve fertility instead of simply leaving things to chance. Such choice is a key factor on the road to gender equality.
- What would your main message be to women who are considering freezing their eggs?
It is important to have a healthy lifestyle and to optimise your body weight. When doing your research, look for a clinic that offers a modern mild stimulation protocol that works within your own cycle. Not only is this shorter than conventional stimulation protocol, it is also aimed at obtaining better quality eggs and eliminating the health risks such as Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). The focus should be on egg quality not quantity.
- Women are always under some kind of time pressure it seems - if you are planning to do it, when is the right time to freeze your eggs?
The earlier the better for egg freezing. Your age at freezing determines the success. Ideally, you should freeze before the age of 35.
- Can contemporary women 'have it all’?
I will be discussing this very topic at the Timeless event on 5 March. I believe women can have it all, but not necessarily all at the same time. The ideal is to have your baby at a young age but an increasing number of women are not ready to start a family when they are young either because they have not met the ideal partner or have a career to pursue.
With advances in egg freezing, women no longer have to lose out in the career stakes in order to start a family. Egg freezing is as important as the “pill” when it comes to helping women with reproductive choices.
The only main barrier to widespread uptake is the cost of treatment, which is why I believe that every effort should be made by clinics to reduce costs, and thus make this exciting advancement accessible to as many women as possible.
Professor Geeta Nargund is Medical Director of CREATE Fertility, and a Senior Consultant Gynaecologist and Lead Consultant for Reproductive Medicine services at St George’s Hospital, London. Professor Nargund will be joining the discussion 'Can Women Have it All?' at the Timeless pop-up on Saturday 5th March at 2pm