Friday, October 15, 2010

Faith Salie Comes Out On Her Choice To Undergo Egg Freezing

(If the blog radio program comes on, please go to the Oct. 1st blog & pause it. I will be keeping the show up for the month of October.)

Dear Readers,

For those of you who missed this, Faith Salie, a multi-talented American writer, television and radio host decided to "come out" regarding her decision to freeze her eggs. Her experience was filmed and shown on CBS's Sunday Morning Show on October 10th. Her slightly tongue-in-cheek account has a powerful message, nonetheless, and that is, "Choice". Now, young women do have a choice to prolong their fertility. It is not inexpensive but those who never had this choice and are now faced with undergoing multiple IVF cycles or using donor eggs would probably be the ones to tell you that they wished they would have had this opportunity. The development of better ART to freeze and thaw has made egg freezing a reality, a viable option for women like Faith Salie.

As she put it in her piece for CBS:

"Let’s talk eggs.

Not the ones on your breakfast plate. No, the ones I have frozen at the NYU Fertility Center.I want to talk about egg freezing, because I don’t think enough young-ish women know about it. I even made a video diary of my eggs-perience, in which I chose to shoot myself up with fertility drugs, visit my doctor twice a day for bloodwork and ultrasounds, and check myself into the hospital for the big retrieval.

I knew two things: I really, really want to have a baby; and I really, really don’t know who should be the father. Now I know a third thing: The option to freeze one’s eggs is just about the most empowering choice a single woman who knows she wants to be a mother can make."


  1. It's nice to hear that egg-freezing is becoming a more viable option. Kind of off-topic, but I'm wondering if this is/could be beneficial to folks who would benefit from IVF but have moral issues with it (i.e. what to do with leftover embryos). Couldn't you potentially retrieve a bunch of eggs, but fertilize only the maximum number that would be transferred, and freeze the rest of the eggs for future use? I understand that frozen embryos generally survive the thawing process better than eggs, but I never hear about anyone going the egg-freezing route in IVF.

    If you couldn't guess, I'm personally torn about whether to try IVF, if it comes down to that, because I don't feel entirely comfortable with any of the options available as to what to do with leftover embryos. If freezing eggs was offered as an option I'd start saving my pennies immediately! :)

  2. Kitty...for some reason my answer to your comment did not post this afternoon! I will try to retrieve it or simply rewrite. Keep checking back :)

  3. Hi Kitty,

    I must have pushed the wrong button and my reply did not post. Sorry about that.

    Your idea is certainly reasonable and logical, and there is no reason why it can't be done. I clearly understand that many faiths have a problem with IVF because of the issue of when life begins. Many believe it begins with fertilization and formation of the embryo, therefore, storage or destruction of those embryos creates a problem for them. As an infertility specialist, a Catholic and a scientist, I know that an embryo that is kept outside of the uterus cannot thrive and "live", and that God's grace is required for all embryos we help with IVF, to implant into the uterus. We do not have the technolgy to make that happen. That is how I understand what I do, but that certainly can be debated, and this is not the forum for that.

    In terms of your idea, there are risks and benefits. One thing you have to understand about IVF and your body, is that not every egg that is retrieved, or ovulated for that matter, is a good egg, not every egg will fertilize, not every embryo will develop into a viable embryo and not every embryo will implant. So with IVF, the goal is to start out with a higher number because we know that there will be a reduction of numbers at every step. So whether you do a low stimulation IVF protocol and only retriev a few eggs, or as you suggest, only take few eggs to fertilze and freeze the rest, there is the risk that you may not have any embryos to transfer. On the other hand, if you increase the number of eggs that you allow to fertilze, and they all turn out to be good embryos, you will either signficantly increase your risks of a super-multiple, if too many are transferred, or you will either have to freeze or discard the extras. Therein lies the dilemma that you have to, somehow, rectify with your beliefs.

    The egg freezing technolgy has gotten much better and freezing eggs is certainly an option now. All egg freezing is still being done as an "experimental protocol" so not all clinics are doing it. You will have to find one that offers this option. Currently, the ASRM (the association over-seeing IVF) only endorses egg freezing for patients facing cancer, but I know for a fact, that many clinics are using it for other reasons too.

    I hope this answers your question and doesn't add too much to your dilemma. The way that many of my "Christian" patients have justified their traditional IVF cycles, and extra embros, is that they don't have any problem with freezing the embryos, and either use them for future attempts at pregnancy or donate them so that they are not destroyed. If the embryos are not viable, then they don't have a problem with letting those go their natural path and allow them to be disarded.

    Good Luck



Related Posts with Thumbnails