I'm talking about babies and that tick-tick-tick ringing in your head. You know, the proverbial biological clock that goes off when you hit your mid-30s.
For all you career gals who haven't found Mr. Right (because you failed miserably at husband-nabbing in college!) or are too busy climbing the corporate ladder, I'm here to tell you it's all good. Here's the solution: Freeze your eggs and have the bambino (or bambini) when you are good and ready!
That's the advice Sarah Elizabeth Richards gives in The Wall Street Journal: "Why I Froze My Eggs (And You Should Too)." She writes:
Between the ages of 36 and 38, I spent nearly $50,000 to freeze 70 eggs in the hope that they would help me have a family in my mid-40s, when my natural fertility is gone. For this baby insurance, I obliterated my savings and used up the money my parents had set aside for a wedding.
And how does she feel about this massive effort? "It was the best investment I ever made." Richards describes it as liberating:
Amid all the talk about women "leaning in" and "having it all," the conversation has left out perhaps the most powerful gender equalizer of all—the ability to control when we have children. . . . At a time when one in five American women between the ages of 40 and 44 is childless—and half say they would still like to have children—egg freezing offers a once-unimaginable reprieve.
What's more, Richards writes that freezing her eggs yields another dividend: a better love life. Rather than fret about whether a date is "The One" who will marry and impregnate her before her fertility runs out, she's now much more relaxed—and hence more successful—at relationships. After the procedures, Richards eventually got on Match. com and "met a wonderful 45-year-old single dad who wants more kids and wanted to hear all about my frozen eggs."
Wow—talking about your 70 frozen eggs must be a real ice breaker!
But let's get back to her main point: Women now have a technological tool to control their reproduction—and that is a positive thing. Richards predicts that freezing eggs will become part of many women's long term plans:
In the future, a woman who registers for law or medical school—and knows ahead of time that she will spend her prime baby-making years in the trenches—would ask for loans for tuition and egg freezing at the same time.
I'm sure some people will fault Richards for being too practical, maybe a bit cold, about life's major moments. And I can hear the outrage about how "selfish" she is for doing everything on her own timetable. Some might also argue that she's reducing men to the role of sperm donor.
Then there's this issue: Postponing motherhood is a luxury many women don't have. First, egg freezing is terribly expensive (she says it costs about "$9,000 to $13,000 a cycle, not including the drugs or storage"). Plus, it's hard to be a single mother unless you have a high-paying job or lots of family support.
Get The Careerist in your morning email. Sign up today—see box on upper right corner.
Do you have topics you'd like to discuss or tips to share? E-mail The Careerist's chief blogger, Vivia Chen, at [email protected]