It wasn’t until my 30’s that I even heard about IVF and egg freezing. And after understanding what it was, I really wished someone had talked about it during my early playing years so I could make a solid plan for my future.
When we’re young, we don’t really think about fertility options and issues…and that’s natural. We’re in the thick of starting our playing careers and the last thing on our mind is freezing our eggs for the future.
But even so, it’s important for athletes to know ahead of time, all their options. Regardless of whether we decide to carry a baby, we can still make some big choices to start a family while we also pursue our passion and career in sports.
So, let’s talk egg freezing. This method basically involves preserving fertile eggs to be used at another time in the future. While the process is more intricate than I’m about to state, the basis is that one would take ovarian stimulating medication and the doctor will go ahead and source those eggs, freeze them, and store them until you decide you are ready to conceive. When you’re ready, IVF will help combine that egg with sperm and begin the journey of conceiving.
Now, while that might seem like a sure-fire way to keep your playing career on track, it’s important to understand this is not a guarantee. While many of your eggs are preserved, there is no definitive way to tell if they are viable when sourcing. A lot of issues affect whether eggs are viable, and many issues are out of your control. An example being your age and how fertility is affected as you get older. Eggs frozen at 25 will be different than eggs frozen at 35. However, at both ages there is the risk of eggs not being viable, but percentage will most likely vary. And even further, though one might freeze eggs early in age, the age we decide to conceive will greatly affect the outcome of a pregnancy.
Also, while we don’t expect to get sick, by the time we decide to conceive we may have developed a medical issue or require chemotherapy or long-term care. Having frozen eggs lends the option of someone else carrying the baby while you get the help you need.
Starting to sound complicated? This is a great jumping point to ask your doctor about the biological medical, and scientific issues of egg freezing and IVF. Having all the proper knowledge will help you consider what you think to be a great route to conceiving.
For me, I wish someone had talked to me early in my career because egg freezing and IVF costs can vary greatly and can add up pretty quick. Having the time to slowly save for this procedure would have saved me the disappointment of trying to make it happen at the later part of my career. Another reason to know about your options early is because some insurance covers the cost of medications, anesthesia, operations, retrieval, etc. This can drastically reduce costs by the thousands.
Egg freezing is a bit more than a one stop shop. After learning more about it I understood that it’s not something you do midseason. You’ll have to get blood drawn many times, ultrasounds, hormones, and medications that stop you from ovulating before the doctor snags those eggs. It’s a lot to add to your training and season and could drastically affect your performance. Even after all that, you’ll need more ultrasounds, injections to help eggs grow, and finally the procedure to remove the eggs one by one.
So, when can I do this? Well, some athletes have used their off season to get this done, while others have chosen to use longer injury recovery breaks. Make sure to speak with your doctor to understand when the right time is, how long the entire journey will be, and how it will affect your body.
It can seem overwhelming but tackle it head on, do your research and talk all your options out with a specialist and your doctor. While I have mentioned some basics, there is a lot more out there, medically speaking, that will help you understand and decide if this is the right process for you.
For more in depth information on procedures and costs visits these sites below:
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