Women are in a better position than ever before. In 2012, nearly 60% of all Master’s Degrees and 51% of Doctoral Degrees were earned by women*. And this is translating into real, societal shifts. In 2014, 49% of women in the US were the primary breadwinners, or at least on par with their significant others**. Women are starting small businesses at twice the rate of men***. Businesses owned by women generate 58% more revenue than 15 years ago****. And the accomplishments go on.
Whether for careers or simply to live and enjoy life, women are putting off marriage and motherhood.
This is a good thing. We should celebrate and encourage this. More life experience can make for being a better mom. But we should also start having realistic conversations much earlier about the limitations of our fertility.
There are two elephants in the room to address. The first is very obvious, but we don’t like to admit it, and our doctors certainly don’t talk to us about it enough.
I know a lot of women who are freezing their eggs. It’s actually becoming quite common in major cities, amongst affluent 30 something year olds. But generally speaking, our eggs are in better shape in our 20’s – it’s time to face up to that fact. It’s biology, and rather than fight it, let’s encourage conversation and action. Let’s make sure younger women are being educated about fertility and egg freezing much earlier. And let’s aim for a world where egg freezing is a realistic, accessible option for 20 something year olds. Which leads me to . . .
For the most part, our eggs are probably in their best shape in our 20’s. Our bank accounts, well, not so much. And for the most part, this isn’t a procedure covered by insurance. So, how can this possibly be a realistic option for young women (there are financing options, but more on that later)?
The first thing we have to do is raise awareness, provide earlier, better education, and have honest conversations with out GYN’s about the realities of our fertility. If we can accomplish this, I’m convinced more women will want to have their eggs frozen, earlier. My memory of economics 101 is hazy at best, but I believe that’s called demand. And again, it’s fuzzy, but as I recall, demand drives supply, and an abundance of supply means competition, which means prices are driven down.
Increased demand, supply and competition will lead to faster advancements in science and technology, so success rates and statistics will increase, and my hope is that ultimately, oocyte cryopreservation, along with all forms of fertility treatments, are more systematically covered by ALL health insurance in all states.
It’s a tall order, but it is MLK Day – an appropriate time to dream and lead a movement.
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