Turn Panic into Peace: Egg Freezing and Hillary Clinton on Fertility

In the seven years that have passed since I published the first edition of my memoir about the new choices that women face as they are having children older and are trying to balance career, love and family, a lot has changed. The Centers For Disease Control released data on January 14th, 2016, showing that the percentage of women having their first child between ages 30 and 34 rose to 21 percent in 2014, up from 16.5 percent in 2000; 9.1 percent of women having their first child in 2014 were 35 or older, up from 7.4 percent in 2000. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that one in eight couples today has trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy.

In 2009, as one of the pioneers of egg freezing, I spoke out to major media about companies needing to pay attention to the changes in women’s lives and better support them by covering egg freezing on their health plans. Today, delaying marriage and childbirth to invest in your career has become the norm as women edge out men as the new majority in the workplace. And now egg freezing is no longer considered “experimental” by American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the procedure is covered on many health insurances plans, including those at major corporations such as Google, Facebook, and Apple.

Even Hillary Clinton is talking about women and fertility. Recently Clinton joined Amanda De Cadenet on her show The Conversation. The topic of the show turned to the fact that many women (and men) are facing fertility struggles, many of which are caused because of the struggle between balancing work and family.

During the show the comedian, entrepreneur and mom Glozell Green says, “I’m about to become a mom and this journey has been a long one because I went to college and I got my career together, and by the time I had gotten my career together and gotten married, I had issues with fertility. Finally through a surrogate, we’re going to have a baby.

“Many women have issues with fertility and it’s not something that’s often spoken about, but it’s very common,” De Cadenet responds.

“It shouldn’t be something that isn’t talked about,” said Clinton. “So there’s no sense of isolation.”

As the conversation veered to the pressure of balancing a career and starting a family, Clinton acknowledges that for financial reasons, many women can’t or don’t want to step off their career track to start their family.

“We’re the only advanced economy in the world that doesn’t have paid family leave. Wouldn’t that be a good thing? Sometimes women who have babies are feeling a different kind of pressure because they have to go right back to work; they have to figure out how to balance this; they’ve never done it before. I just think we make it so hard and I want to us to have paid family leave, I want us to have paid sick days, which a lot of people in our country don’t have. I want us to make sure that we support young women in making these important decisions.”

We still have a long way to go, and also need Advanced Reproductive Technologies such as IVF and egg freezing to be part of standard health care coverage. Advanced Reproductive Fertility treatments should not be a luxury. This is a public health issue, and not just a women’s health issue, but a family health issue.

In this 2nd edition I’ve completely updated the story of my own efforts to reconcile modern love with modern life with the latest medical, technological, and social science research. Told through the voices of multiple women facing the challenge of balancing their careers, family aspirations, and that brief, beautiful window wherein their bodies are ready for babies, while also incorporating my personal experience trying to work, date, and see the world, I tell the story of how I came to get my eggs frozen.

This new edition also includes new chapters that tell the exciting story of what happened after that decision. I hope it will resonate with new readers and fans of the first edition who want to know the rest of the story. I think a huge generation of young women who want it all — a career, a family, the perfect partner — but haven’t figured out yet how to fit it all together will relate and it will help you to turn panic into peace.

In Her Own Sweet Time: Egg Freezing and the New Frontiers of Family (2016, Nothing But the Truth)