Companies like Apple and Facebook should be applauded for paying for Fertility Preservation, but it’s not the only answer
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (October 16, 2014) – On Monday, news that Apple and Facebook included oocyte (egg) freezing in their fertility benefits packages came with much delight to Tennessee Reproductive Medicine (TRM) founding partners Dr. Jessica Scotchie and Dr. Rink Murray, who believe that it is a laudable and progressive step towards helping many women and couples realize their dreams of starting a family.
TRM cautions, however, that cryopreservation of eggs for social reasons is not the simple answer to starting a family one day. Each woman, and her ability to get pregnant, is unique to her health and circumstances.
Monday’s news about companies paying for egg freezing shouldn’t be about whether the employer stands to gain from keeping its female employees from having children until later in life, or the sincerity of the fertility assistance package, but whether enough emphasis is focused on the individual woman, her understanding of her body and ability to conceive.
There are many statistics about infertility – and many individuals that stand to profit from claims about infertility – that can intimidate women of any age, says Dr. Scotchie. Her hope is that by Apple and Facebook supporting fertility preservation, more women will start talking about their reproductive goals and potential with their doctors.
For a young woman who feels the need to extend her biologic clock and is considering cryopreservation, she should take the time to meet with a professional and learn about her options. A woman in her 20s or early 30s who is anticipating waiting to conceive for several years, egg freezing may present the opportunity to improve the chance of having a child. A woman in her 40s wanting to freeze eggs for later use is in a very different situation, and egg freezing may not offer any benefit. Any woman nearing her forties who is told that she can simply get pregnant with persistence should address her concerns with a reproductive specialist.
Since the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s removal of the “experimental” label on oocyte vitrification, egg freezing for social reasons opened doors for women to pursue life aims such as financial security, education, career growth and ‘finding the right partner’ before starting a family. For these reasons, Dr. Murray says discussion and preference for this alternative pathway towards parenting has gained great prominence.
Dr. Murray hopes that this discussion will continue, but not in the light that it has been presented to the public.
It is TRM’s hope every woman is empowered to learn about her fertility and come to understand that her body acts in a way that is different from her mother or sister. In fertility science, there are no ‘cookbook’ methods for getting pregnant or extending fertility.
About Tennessee Reproductive Medicine
Tennessee Reproductive Medicine is a full-service reproductive endocrinology and fertility clinic located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with satellite monitoring centers in Knoxville, Tenn., Cookeville, Tenn. and Rome, Ga. TRM’s goal is to provide the most advanced medical and surgical care to patients suffering from infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss, endometriosis, reproductive endocrine disorders (such as polycystic ovary syndrome and premature ovarian failure), abnormal menses and menopause.