I was single until I was 34-years-old. The majority of my Italian, Roman Catholic family assumed I was either too picky, a lesbian or hoping to eventually become a nun. I had one aunt in particular who, at every wedding, would ask me, "When are you going to be next? What's taking so long? When are you going to be next!?!??" I started asking her the same thing at funerals just to get her off of my back.
Being single was simultaneously fun and utter torture. It could be exciting when you met someone new who you felt had potential but then at other times, it could get depressing. Sometimes, it would feel like all of the single people remaining were similar to the clearance rack at your local Target. "Really? This is all that's left?"
One thing that always adds to the pressure of finding your soul mate when you're a woman is your famously annoying biological clock. It's always in the back of your mind and creates a whole new level of pressure (in additional to your nagging family). I actually had a friend who used to bring up her desire to have children on her first dates. It was rare she ever had a second date.
When I was single, often worried about what waiting for someone I could genuinely stand would mean for my fertility. When it comes to marriage and making a lifelong commitment, I always think of a quote from the movie Sabrina (the 1995 version with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond). Sabrina (Ormond) says to Linus (Ford), "You probably don't believe in marriage." And Linus answers (in his dry Harrison Ford way), "Yes, I do. That's why I never got married."
To me, it was easy to date someone for a few months and then say, "Ok. Close enough. You'll do." But it was more difficult to wait until you really felt like you met the passion of your life. I took marriage very seriously and so, I dared to wait until I met someone who I truly felt was a good match for me. I'm happy to report that when I did get married, the word "settling" was nowhere in my mind.
Unfortunately, no one told my eggs that I had such high standards. When my husband and I started trying to have children, it didn't happen as easily as we thought it would. Although our formal diagnosis was "Unexplained Infertility," one of the many doctors I saw felt my age and egg quality was a factor.
This is why I'm particularly passionate about encouraging women to freeze their eggs. It will allow you time to pursue your career, play the field, wait for Mr. Right and not have to worry about your biological clock alarm going on in the middle of cocktails with a potential mate.
In general, egg freezing is the hot topic right now. There have been countless articles, blogs and television segments on the subject. One segment in particular was on MSNBC's Morning Joe and featured Joanna Coles, Emma Rosenblum and Nicolle Wallace discussing why women are freezing their eggs, the age they are doing it and what impact it will have on their lives. Joanna Coles even suggests that egg freezing may become the new graduation gift.
There are two issues though that stops women from freezing their eggs:
1. It's damned expensive.
2. They don't feel they need to because they believe they've got plenty of time.
Egg freezing can run from $6,500 on the low end to $18,000 on the high end. This would roughly include the medical fees, science fees and service fees, as well as the first year of storage. If you consider that the best time to freeze your eggs is most likely the time you don't have that kind of income, it makes for a catch-22.
I would offer to loan you the money but lord knows I don't have it either. There is a product called EggBanxx.com that makes the cost more manageable by offering low-interest financing. They, like me, are also working hard to raise awareness about egg freezing and connect women to doctors in their area. If you don't have a rich relative to buy you an egg freezing cycle for the holidays this year, it may be worth looking in to!
In terms of having all of the time in the world, please think of me as the "Ghost of Infertility Future." I'm wearing a dark cloak pointing at your age. Although egg freezing isn't a guarantee, younger eggs do have a better a chance of withstanding the freezing process which ultimately provides you a greater chance of creating a baby. Most doctors recommend freezing in your early 30s so again, if you can afford it and are interested, please do not put this off. The future you will thank you!