I was in my early 30s when I my doctor told me that I had a low reserve of eggs, meaning it would be quite difficult for me to get pregnant naturally. I cried – I didn’t understand why as I lead a healthy lifestyle (Ed’s note: there are many factors that could cause diminished ovarian reserve, including genetics, environmental factors and medical issues. Ageing also naturally reduces the reserve). I was single then, and decided to freeze my eggs in Thailand as social egg freezing is not allowed in Singapore.
I’m a proponent of egg freezing for various reasons. For one, the younger the woman, the better the quality of her eggs. Many women feel pressured to rush into marriage and have kids, but by not having enough time to look for a suitable partner, they might end up settling down with the wrong person. Also, a woman should be able to live out her career or life goals, and only experience motherhood when she’s ready.
A common misconception about egg freezing is that it hurts, but from my experience, the only thing that really hurts is your bank account. Egg freezing is very, very expensive, and not a lot of people can afford it, in the same way that not a lot of people can afford IVF. And even for those who can afford it, they might not be able to take time off to undergo the procedure, especially if they have to do a couple of rounds (each round took slightly less than two weeks). I did three rounds, successfully freezing 11 eggs in total. The process is not that painful – all the injections are very bearable, and I think there are plenty of other things that are more painful. To me, it was worth it as I was backing up my future.
Last year, I got pregnant after my first try with IVF. The eggs weren’t from the previous batches I had frozen though; my doctor wanted me to try implantation with a fresh round, and it was successful. However, I still have the eggs from before and can use them if I want to next time. I hope this is something more women will be able to receive support in, whether socially or financially. There can be easier ways to navigate this.
Text: Ase Wang/HerWorld