A Proactive Approach for Psychotherapists’ Working with Women of Child Bearing Age
Kings of Tech Offer to Freeze Eggs for Female Workers
Oct 16, 2014 - Apple and Facebook will reimburse female employees who want to freeze their eggs..in collaboration with The New York Times and WGBH Boston.
The story of “The birds and the bees…” has changed. No longer is reproduction limited to an act between a man and a woman. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) has made Invitro-Fertilization (IVF) a household name.
The newest development of tremendous substance is the viability of freezing women’s eggs without first fertilizing with sperm and therefore making an embryo. It’s only been about four years that this process has been offered to women for the sole purpose of extending their reproductive years.
ART provides people more control over their family planning by expanding their viable reproductive years. There are several types of patients I think a proactive intervention by their psychotherapist to introduce this concept is warranted:
- A single woman who wants children or the option to have a child who is approaching that time when her eggs start losing viability which is generally accepted as 35 in fertility medicine. My target number is age 32, if a woman is not thinking about trying to get pregnant within the next three years, is when I might suggest exploring prolonging her reproductive years.
- Another category to benefit from egg freezing is a heterosexual or lesbian couple whom are “dating” but not at the point to make a commitment. They need time to explore their relationship to its organic resolution. But, the woman is running out of time during the process. This can be put on the table as couple’s decision to consider extending the woman’s reproductive years.
- The last type is the married, or life-committed couple who are stable in their relationship and know they want children eventually. But, like many dual career couples who have spent many years in post graduate training, they do not want to divert energy from establishing their careers to raising children. Physicians, lawyers, the corporate executive track ambitious, and politicos are some examples we see whom if given ten to fifteen years will be more than ready emotionally and established enough professionally to redirect their focus to bringing children into the world and parenting. Their decision is however more complicated. While freezing eggs has become more viable, IVF has more of a track record and would be the better way for them to go.
However, frozen embryo opens the door to a number of complex issues to explore as well as post nuptial legal work. I would suggest involving consultation with an infertility specialist as part of this exploration.
Of course, one of the first questions raised is “How much does this cost?” Harvesting and freezing eggs is in the ball park if $10k and IVF is closer to $20k. Clinics differ and most have made financial arrangements with institutions for their services to be financed over time. This is where you think like the credit card commercial, “…having a baby… priceless”. This amount of money can be overwhelming to many people in their 30’s especially when the traditional way is a free option for many for a time window.
Another resource is parents of your patients with the resources to help with the costs. Of course this is not an option for many but perhaps one not to be missed by some. To paraphrase Hillary Clinton’s famous phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child”. Keeping familial generations going does not have to be left for just two people to do by themselves.
Lee Kyser, PhD