Women's Health Week: Freezing eggs helps mom fulfill dream

Women's Health Week: Freezing eggs helps mom fulfill dream

It’s a trend we are seeing more and more these days: career-driven women are waiting until later in life to marry, settle down and start a family.

For one in eight women, trying to get pregnant later in life can result in complications and other fertility issues.

One option to help: oocyte cryopreservation, better known as egg freezing. For 43-year-old Patty, it’s an option that made her dream of becoming a mom come true.

Baby Hannah has only been on Earth for six months, but she’s been a twinkle in her mom Patty's eye and a hope in her heart for much longer.

“I have been wanting to be a mom for as long as I can remember,” Patty said.

This path didn’t come as easily as she hoped. Back in 2012, when she was 38 years old, Patty says she was still single – and didn’t know when she’d meet Mr. Right and be able to start a family.

With an increased desire to become a mom – and an increased risk of not being able to conceive naturally – her parents suggested she freeze her eggs.

“At first, I was like ‘no, no, no … I’ll meet someone,” Patty said.

But soon after, Patty knew she needed to start exploring her fertility options. She met with fertility specialist Dr. William Schoolcraft at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.

“She illustrated what we are seeing more and more of: women who are getting older and are marrying later, and they get to an age where they’d like to marry but they don’t have partner yet – and in some cases, want two or three kids,” Schoolcraft said.

His advice? Freeze your eggs.

“We just decided ‘yeah, I am going to go for it,’” Patty said. “I want to be a mom. I know it’s not a sure thing – but it’s the best I can do right now. It’s in my control.”

So, she went through the egg-freezing process, and as life would have it, she met her husband that next year.

She tied the knot, and got pregnant naturally.

“Part of my thinking was, even if I don’t need it for my first child, I may need for a second child later on,” Patty said.

But a few months into her first pregnancy, she miscarried. That’s when she and her husband decided to use the embryos she had frozen five years earlier.

The frozen eggs were thawed, fertilized and then genetically tested for any abnormalities.

They ended up with two healthy eggs of the 35 that were taken out. Of those two, one resulted in a healthy pregnancy.

Then, about nine months later, Hannah arrived.

“I just kept saying ‘I can’t believe she’s mine … I can’t believe she’s mine,” Patty said.

Her dream of becoming a mom to a beautiful baby girl finally became a reality.

Egg freezing can cost between $12,000 to $20,000. In Patty's case, her employer at the time covered a large portion of the cost – a move that more and more companies are beginning to do.

If you’d like to learn more about oocyte cryopreservation, there are local resources, like the Jones Institute at EVMS and the New Hope Center in Virginia Beach.

All this week on 13News Now Daybreak, we're talking about women's issues from trouble sleeping to infertility. Let's have a real talk about these topics. Be part of the discussion, Tweet us with #NowOn13, and watch Daybreak from 4:30 to 7 a.m. beginning Monday, July 10 on 13News Now.

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