Everything Egg Freezing: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Doing it Right is a leading book on egg freezing, written by two women with personal experience of the procedure in conjunction with leading fertility doctors and scientists. Here, the authors explain why they wanted to write the book to help other people make an informed decision...
Everything Egg Freezing
The simple reason we wrote Everything Egg Freezing was because when we both started out exploring egg freezing, a resource like this didn't exist - and we really wished it did.
Like 99.9% of women who set out on an egg freezing journey) when we were first researching whether or not we should freeze our eggs we felt on our back feet and on our own. No matter how confident and capable you consider yourself, staring down the barrel of future fertility isn't a comfortable place to be.
A big factor in us feeling this way was having no place to turn to for comprehensive, straight-talking, unbiased advice and to hear from other women in similar situations.
That's why, with their help of an incredible panel of experts, we decided to create a resource that brings all the experts together in one place and helps other women get to grips with the big questions around the procedure.
Egg freezing in 30s
We wanted egg freezing to mark an empowering moment in our lives, but the truth is that it felt like the exact opposite.
Once we both hit our early 30s without parenthood on the horizon, the realities of fertility hit, along with divorce, PCOS and career shifts.
Doctors just told us to 'crack on', which was unrealistic for both our situations.
What was whispered in circles of friends, instead, was egg freezing. It seemed like a promising option, it sounded like something to help quiet the alarm bells of our biological clocks.
But where do you even begin when most primary care healthcare providers don't really know what it is?
It’s not like you can just pick up the phone and ask your mom or friends for practical advice, like you might do around pregnancy.
Outside the healthcare system
Whilst egg freezing (or 'fertility preservation') can sometimes be covered by insurance or an employer, for the vast majority of people it is a private pay, elective procedure that sits outside of the usual flow of gynecological care.
Specialist fertility clinics, where people also go for IVF, are the providers of egg freezing care. But when we went to these clinics to find out more about the procedure and get quotes to compare, we were concerned we weren't getting fully balanced information - and that we had no idea how to begin to weigh up one clinic against another in terms of quality and safety.
That's why we've included a chapter called Picking a Clinic in the book, with step-by-step questions to ask and cribsheets for evaluating the confusing lab and clinic world.
The clinical side of egg freezing is just one input - and making a comfortable decision about whether it is right for you as an individual is based on far more.
You can go and ask a doctor about egg freezing and they will mostly give you clinical or medical answers.
Our doctors were great, but staff in fertility clinics simply don't have the time or the training to engage with patients on the zillion subtle social, financial, practical, personal, ethical and lifestyle inputs to a decision to freeze your eggs. And even if they did, ultimately, this is a decision that only you can make.
Although egg freezing is a medical procedure, it's really about more than just the science. It's an incredibly personal, subjective life choice that requires great thought, like any major financial commitment.
Accessing a balance of unbiased information from other valid voices, such as scientists, campaigners and fellow patients with first-hand experience of the procedure, and having a multitude of data points to hand to make the best decision for you, is critical to understanding the decision and the procedure in the round.
We found the right people to help explain and add stories about each stage of the journey and included these in the book as contributors and quotes, which is one of the most powerful things about it.
Everything Egg Freezing is both rooted in impartial, rock solid science and peppered with personal anecdotes from real women who have frozen their eggs.
One of the things we noticed when we were exploring egg freezing, was that there was information available about the procedure itself, but very little about making the decision in the first place.
Our book is designed to be a guide to research, exploring and deciding, as much as a companion to the egg freezing procedure itself.
That's why the book takes you through a substantial section called "Exploring Egg Freezing", before moving on to "Preparing for Egg Freezing" and then "Owning Your Procedure".
Putting enough emphasis on the pre-decision phase helps to make sure you don't miss anything important from any stage in the process, and minimizes the risk of later regrets.
Not only have we included stories and advice from
top specialists from around the world, but the book is also packed with strategies and checklists that help make sense of both the decision to freeze in the first place, and how to best go about it once you've made the right decision for you.
In our opinion, this is something that doesn't get acknowledged often enough: that there's no such thing as a "right answer" when it comes to fertility preservation, only the right answer for you.
The book is designed to help get you there, with its realistic assessment of risks, benefits and gaps.
Preparing for the best outcome
The interesting thing is we ended up writing a different book that the one we set out to write.
Not only is Everything Egg Freezing packed with answers and insights about the procedure itself, how to best plan for it, how you might feel and what the chances of success are, it also gives you a roadmap to making your treatment as successful as possible.
That's because along the road of research, we discovered there are many things to do to prepare that can have a significant influence over the outcome and success of your cycle.
Once we drilled down into the data, it turned out there are choices like what you eat, your daily lifestyle, what products you use, the types of exercise you do, the supplements you take that can have a direct impact on your egg freezing outcome.
So in the "Preparing for Egg Freezing" section of the book, we brought all this synthesized, evidence-based lifestyle and nutrition advice in one place to improve your chance of success and help you get the best experience of the procedure you can.
A better experience and outcome
We wrote this book because we knew we couldn't change our own past experience, but we felt strongly we could help transform a very confusing and isolating topic - fertility - into a clearer set of information and support. And in doing so we could help more people access the 'empowering' part of contemplating the procedure, no matter what path they choose.
The more we talk about the topic, the more stigma we can remove and the less likely it is anyone will feel alone, unsure and on the back foot when it comes to fertility.
The bottom line is that your doctor is there for all your medical advice, but often that stops there. For everything else to do with egg freezing...check out the book!