Given that it’s now over a year since my first cycle, and I knew that I had to pay an annual fee for storage of my eggs, I’d started to worry that I hadn’t heard from the clinic. Maybe they’d tried to contact me and I’d missed their calls/deleted their emails/not received their letters… Maybe they’d thrown away my eggs… Obviously, I didn’t worry so much that I actually got in touch with them, becausethe part of me that wasn’t worrying about it hoped that they might just have forgotten to ask me for more money. I’m an optimist, alright?
Anyway, unsurprisingly, turns out they hadn’t forgotten, or thrown my eggs away, and I got a letter from them, reminding me that they had, as they put it “14 oocytes in storage for your future use” and that should I wish them to store them for another year, they’d want £360 from me. If they’d retrieved 14 eggs in a single cycle, I’d have only paid £120, but because I had three cycles, irrespective of the number of eggs retrieved on each one, I still had to pay £120 for each batch. I had rather hoped that they’d shove ’em all in together and charge me just £120, but obviously that’s not how it works. (As you may have noticed, when it comes to egg freezing, if there’s a possibility that you could save money doing one thing, or spend more doing the other, you can pretty much guarantee that things will fall on the “spending more” side.)
So, I paid it – OBVIOUSLY – but it struck me that, although technically, according to the law, those eggs could be frozen for ten years, the likelihood is that this time next year, I’ll be making a decision about whether or not I’m going to use them. A year ago, I shied away from putting a deadline on it. I felt like egg freezing had bought me time, but I couldn’t really say how MUCH time. It felt a bit like committing to something that felt out of my control. Because the idea was that I’d freeze my eggs, find the man of my dreams, and have kids with him, using my frozen eggs if necessary.
But, how long do you give yourself to find that person, who is apparently just around the corner, where I’m least expecting them to be? How long is a piece of string? Because for all that I know, as I’ve said before, that it’s binary – you’ve either met them or you haven’t and not meeting them this week doesn’t mean that you won’t next week – how long do you wait for that 0 to become a 1?
(Incidentally, I hope all you mathematics fans appreciate that bit of geek wordplay/numberplay – if you have no idea what I’m talking about, take it from me, it’s a stroke of genius that I’m very proud of.)
I suppose I still don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that if I’m going to give myself a fighting chance of becoming a mother, I should probably embark upon that before I hit 40. Because yes, I’ve frozen the eggs and nominally stopped time, but realistically, who knows whether one’s reproductive organs are in good nick until you start trying?
At the time I chose to freeze my eggs, I did so because I was ONLY 36, I didn’t think I should have to give up on the conventional dream of the man and the children (although even then I conceded, I’d have to be going some / having twins to have more than one.) But if I get to 39, and I’m no closer to that than I was three years ago, it will probably be time to have a rethink – one way or another… Let’s give it a year though, a LOT can happen in a year.