More and more women are turning to fertility preservation, aka egg freezing, as they advance in their careers, search for the right partner, or are just simply not ready to start a family. In fact, the number of women freezing their eggs grew from 475 in 2009 to 3,939 in 2013, which is a 730% increase, according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.
If you were one of them, or are considering the process for yourself, chances are you've wondered how you might approach the topic within your relationship. To help, we spoke with Director of Partnerships and Education at Extend Fertility, Kristen Mancinelli—who has crowdsourced some advice from women who have first-hand experience—for some expert guidance.
Start the Conversation Early
While you might not want to bring this up on the first date or meet up, it might be best to bring this up as early as you feel comfortable doing so. (If you've already frozen your eggs, that is.) Growing and starting a family is a huge milestone, and a life-changing event, so it's important to see if you are on the same page and have the same goals—and if not, to reevaluate.
Mancinelli explains, "Most men (and many women!) know very little about fertility. Be prepared for some confusion or questions and understand that an inability to immediately comprehend the situation does not always mean they aren’t accepting of your personal goals." To be able to accurately explain, be sure you are prepared to clarify what it means that you have chosen to froze your eggs and why, along with what can be done with them, etc. It's also important to accurately emphasize that fertility preservation is not infertility treatment. She says, "It doesn’t signal that you want kids now, or even ever, but is rather an investment in your potential future that helps ease the burden of stress from your biological clock."
If It's New
If you've just begun thinking about, or have recently made the decision to freeze your eggs, it's obviously just as important to share that with your romantic partner. "You might say that you wanted to buy time, ease the pressure, focus on yourself/your work, or for health reasons. This could be a good time to crack a joke about being on hormone medications for two weeks. Essentially you’re letting this person know that your behavior may be different for a few weeks, but it’s nothing for them to be concerned about," Mancinelli says. If you're in a long-term relationship, perhaps its a decision you'd like to make together, and discussing your partners involvement (or lack thereof) is key.
If You're Considering Egg Freezing...
If you find that you're just beginning to consider the procedure, it is imperative to be informed. Mancinelli explains, "Anyone considering freezing their eggs should be fully informed on the process, medications, costs involved, success rates and medical risks. At Extend Fertility, we make it our mission to educate women on all the above, so that they are able to make informed decisions that are in line with their goals." She advises that a woman considering freezing her eggs should also ensure that the lab she is using is state-of-the-art and uses the most modern method of egg freezing.