04/21/2014 09:27 am ET Updated Apr 21, 2014

Egg Freezing And The Empowerment Paradox

Courtney Keating via Getty Images

“Freeze your eggs, free your career!” blares the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek. It’s a story as tired as 40-year-old ovaries: Wealthy women who have achieved great things professionally are disappointed about how their personal lives are shaping up — now, though, they’re defying their biological clocks by paying ludicrous amounts of money to freeze their eggs. One of these women says she “thinks it will allow her to date without radiating the desperation of someone who has to have a baby right this very second." Another woman — whose male colleagues presumably aren’t losing sleep over how to maintain a career, meet a perfect partner, and start a family — says her decision “leveled the playing field a bit.”

Buried in the article is a chart that betrays the you-go-girl positivity. While more than half of egg-freezing women say they feel empowered by their choice, the next-largest group says it was both “empowering and anxiety producing.” This apparent contradiction actually makes perfect sense: If you're in control, you're to blame if things don't work out the way you want. A decision these women made to take the pressure off actually imposes a whole new kind of stress.

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