Procedure Buys More Time Before Starting A Family

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After a walk down the aisle ended in divorce, Melanie Bradshaw, walked into a fertility clinic to undergo a procedure to harvest and freeze her eggs.

“I didn’t want to give up that dream of still having that family,” Bradshaw, 34, recently told CBS 2’s Dana Tyler. “I think (the procedure has) taken the pressure off my shoulders.”

For the growing number of women choosing to postpone parenthood, having a backup to aging eggs is a dream that doctors say is now within reach.

Egg freezing has only been widely available in the United States since October 2012. Once considered “experimental,” it was generally only utilized by cancer patients. But now, more women — even healthy women — are choosing to freeze their eggs.

Dr. Eric Widra, of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, credits this increase in women — from their late 20s to early 40s — freezing their eggs to significant advances in technology.

“Now we feel like rather than an empty promise, there’s real hope that we’re giving patients,” Widra said.

Freezing eggs, of course, is not a fail-safe insurance policy. Even with high-quality eggs, it’s not a guarantee that there will be implantation. The procedure is not typically covered by insurance, and the price tag ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, plus storage fees.

Psychologist Dr. Joann Galst said many of the woman who undergo the procedure are also buying time to focus on life goals, such as finding a partner, finishing school or straightening out finances.

“There’s also a focus on, for women, establishing their careers before they start their families,” Galst said.

The technology is so new that only about 2,000 babies have been born from frozen eggs worldwide. Widra said that more research still must be done.

“We don’t yet know whether freezing eggs from older women, or for a longer period of time, will have consequences,” he said. “We don’t think it will, but we don’t know yet.”

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