I just read a recent Huffington Post article titled “I Took Control Of My Biological Clock At Age 30” – and let’s just say that the title alone told me that I was going to take issue with the line of thought.
Author Aidan Madigan-Curtis talks about her experience with egg freezing, and it’s not like she paints a glamorous picture – 11 days of self-injecting hormones, egg extraction surgery, mood swings, bodily changes and a huge hit to your wallet. But she does glam it up with her claims of “taking control.”
I get it, I do. Women these days are career-driven and busy, and often haven’t yet met the right man with whom to start a family. That’s life. And naturally, they do want kids in the future and also want said kids to be healthy – which is a riskier business for women who get pregnant for the first time after 35. But isn’t it a little extreme to put your body through this trauma when its value is not sure – it’s something that might not reap any benefits?
For one, frozen eggs won’t last forever – they have a shelf life which is limited in years – and only a portion of them may be viable for use. The required fertility drugs would have side-affects to the body, and by the time you do want to use them, who knows if the body will even be able to sustain the pregnancy? Also being a fairly new trend, we don’t have the research to prove that putting the body through this won’t have negative consequences years into the future. And I hate to be a doomsayer, but what if the right man still hasn’t come along before menopause? Is that over $10K down the drain or will there be an attempt at the highly stressful process of IVF with sperm donation? None of it sounds very appealing to me.
But the actual process aside, the issue that bothers me here is that of control. The fact of the matter is this: we don’t have control. Even the frozen egg of a 30-year old doesn’t guarantee perfect health for the baby, or that she’ll even have a child at all. What is with our society and wanting to be in control? Why can’t we take life as it comes, accepting that everything happens for a reason? Instead we have to at least act like we’re in control, and that seems to provide us with some comfort.
It’s not that I don’t want Madigan-Curtis to enjoy having kids one day, or that I scoff at her: I just don’t want her to kid herself and take other women along for the ride too. In her article, she talks as if every woman she knows is keen to get their eggs frozen as well, but I think this presents a skewed view. I think these women represent humanity in that we all have certain things that we would have liked to be different. But I wonder how many of them would actually go through what it takes to freeze their eggs? I think their opinions come down again to the issue of control – how they would have wanted things to be. I’m sorry, Madigan-Curtis, but you haven’t taken control of your biological clock at all – you’ve just tricked yourself into thinking that you have.