Ova Easy: 5 Steps for Easier Egg Freezing and Fertility Health Planning
By the time I froze my eggs last summer, I was 35 years old and had been thinking about it for years. At 32, I asked my gynecologist for fertility preservation advice. He instructed me to come back when I was 38 but not to worry until then.
As it turns out, bad advice.
My ovarian reserve — or remaining quantity of eggs — is lower than most in my age cohort and preserving my fertility through egg freezing would have been better sooner rather than later. What does this mean? Well, nothing definitive — but it indicates a higher probability that I’ll use fertility technology if I want to have a biological kid.
Despite how inconvenient and intimidating the egg freezing process is, I’m grateful for access to the procedure. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop thinking about why women have to navigate these issues on our own as if we’re stranded on a hostile planet.
Why do we not have the support of awesome products and services? Aren’t these major life decisions — whether, when and with whom to have a kid(s)? Don’t we all run mental math to routinely organize and reorganize the many aspects of our lives that give us meaning? Why are these issues so shrouded in stress and anxiety?
I founded Carrot with Dr. Asima Ahmad as our chief medical officer to deliver the best insights, data and advice about fertility preservation, planning and health in ways that are accessible and user-friendly. Our unique point of view is to engage fertility issues from a position of strength rather than fear.
We’ll take a broad approach, put things in context, and help you be smart and savvy without the nightmare of late-night Googling.
The taboos around fertility are outdated, cumbersome and harmful — not just to women but men, too. It’s time for a fresh, fun and modern approach to this important area of our health and lifestyle.
Kicking Things Off: 5 Ways to Get Started
(1) 💡Get Smart: Think about your fertility as you would your money, career, or relationships — as a long-term investment that produces the best results with regular attention. Learn about risk factors such as smoking and certain STDs. Use apps like Clue and Glow to track your period and initiate a conversation with your gynecologist if you have short or irregular cycles. If your doctor tells you “not to worry” because “you’re too young to think about this” then don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.
Understand biomarkers such as AMH (anti-mullerian hormone), which is not predictive of an ability to get pregnant but is currently the one of the leading methods for testing ovarian reserve (quantity of remaining eggs). Labs like Reprosource provide insights around fertility biomarkers at an affordable price.
(2) 🔎 Find the Right Fit: If you decide to freeze eggs you’ll have to choose a fertility clinic. One size does not fit all. Don’t be afraid to shop around. You deserve to be completely comfortable that the team of doctors, nurses and administrative staff are giving you the personalized care and service you deserve. But this also means you can’t be shy about asking what’s on your mind. Question recommendations you don’t understand. Speak up, even if they seem busy. Check out FertilityIQ, a new Yelp-like service for fertility clinics.
(3) 📥Own Your Records: Your medical records belong to you. Ask your clinic(s) to send you a complete copy of your record, including all labs results and doctors’ notes. Check out PatientBank to aggregate all of your medical records for free. Portability reduces the friction involved in changing providers and can save time and money by eliminating the need to redo tests.
(4) 👭 Start a New Conversation: Let’s talk more openly and about egg freezing, sperm freezing, fertility health, or plans to have — or not have — biological children. First and foremost, be proud that you are smartly engaged in your own fertility health, no matter what you choose in the future.
(5) 👊 Join Us: We are building something for you and ourselves. If you’re willing to have a conversation about your perspective and how you approach this topic, we’d love to connect personally via tammy (at) get-carrot.com. Sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned for more. We hope you’ll invite your friends, family and others you care about to join the Carrot community.
Thankfully, we aren’t stranded on Mars. This isn’t a hostile planet. It only feels that way. We have technology and each other. Together, we’re gonna science the shit outta this.