Dr. Elizabeth Kennard was in the Good Day Columbus (GDC) studios to discuss the new trend of egg freezing in millennials. Egg freezing also known as fertility preservation non-medical reasons is on the rise. Fertility preservation affords women that ability ability to preserve the option of having children in the future. Watch the interview here:
Fertility Preservation for Non-Medical Reasons
Timing can affect many aspects of one’s life. Historically, a women’s ability to conceive has always been dictated by their biological clock. Age is the biggest determining factor of a women’s fertility. An entire woman’s lifetime supply of eggs, approximately 6 million, are produced within the first 20 weeks of gestation. At this point, egg production permanently stops. As she ages from embryo to prepubescent girl to adulthood, the supply continues to decrease. By a woman’s early 30s the rate of decline in her supply of eggs accelerates. Fortunately with the advancements in reproductive technology women no longer needs to be beholden to their biological clocks. Whether you haven’t found that perfect person to start a family with, or you’re focused on your career and start a family is not feasible, fertility preservation is a viable option for you.
In addition to the video above, here is the video transcript:
INTERVIEWER 1: Trending right now, some millennial women are choosing to freeze their eggs in order to wait to have kids a little bit later on, and this does include celebrities.
INTERVIEWER 2: It does, and Dr. Elizabeth Kennard is here from OSU Wexner Medical Center to share more with us. Thank you so much for joining us today. So do you hear a lot more about this?
KENNARD: Absolutely, I think it’s in the news, and a while back I think some organizations like Facebook started paying for their employees, so it comes up all the time. Yeah.
INTERVIEWER 1: Really, I’ve never heard of such a thing. That’s interesting. Is it an expensive procedure?
KENNARD: Well, it is. To freeze your eggs, it would probably cost you between $6,000 and $10,000 INTERVIEWER 2:No way.
KENNARD: Yes. It depends on where you are in the country, of course. It’s less expensive in the Midwest than on the coast.
INTERVIEWER 1: Wow, how many eggs are they taking if they are going to freeze them?
KENNARD: Well, I’m very greedy, shawn, so as many as I can get. [LAUGH] Well, the success rate varies depending on how many eggs you get and the more the better.
d: And so insurance, that wouldn’t cover it at all? It would just be at your expense? In some cases, would they?
KENNARD: It’s very rare for insurance to cover all types of fertility treatment, actually. It’s one of the sad things that my patients have to deal with. Yeah.
INTERVIEWER 1: What’s the viability of those eggs after they’ve been frozen?
KENNARD: Well, it totally depends. It changes with the age of the woman.
INTERVIEWER 1: Okay.
KENNARD: So, a lot of people don’t know. You’re born with all of the eggs you’re ever going to have, and it’s a really horrible story. You lose them as you get older.
INTERVIEWER 2: As you get older.
KENNARD: So if you come to see me about this when you are 27, you have a much better chance than if you are 37 or 47.
INTERVIEWER 2: At what age should you start thinking about freezing your eggs?
KENNARD: Well, that’s the problem. The problem is that younger women, women your age, probably isn’t thinking about it and they think they have plenty of time. And by the time they start to feel that biological clock ticking; 35, 36, 37, 38, then you have a lower success rate. The younger the better.
INTERVIEWER 1: Really.
INTERVIEWER 2: Wasn’t the trend always though, that if they were going to do this, that there was a health issue involved? And now it’s just an elective.
INTERVIEWER 2: Sure. Especially as millennials, the women are working for longer now and putting off their baby, having a baby. So why is it important to think about maybe doing this if you want to have kids later in life? Is it =because it’s a higher risk? Can you tell us more about the risks?
KENNARD: Well, there are two things. One, the age cut off we usually use has been 35, but it generally goes slowly up. As you get older, you get a higher rate of miscarriage and there’s a higher rate of chromosome abnormalities in embryos and the babies. So you want to use younger embryos. In addition to just wanting to have a better chance of getting pregnant.
INTERVIEWER 1: Now, you do have a website and I think this will be interesting for us to just just do a little experiment. Because we know Sophia Vergaro was one who has done this. How old is she? 43. She is 43 And she has her boyfriend, now husband, is younger. But she obviously being older and never having had a baby, wanted to do this. That would be one of the reasons. then, Olivia Munn, she did it, too, and she ended up going to the doctor and finding out that she was lucky enough to have a lot of eggs still. The risk though, as you said, is that at 35 it becomes increasingly more. That’s why she wanted to do it. So are we going to test?
KENNARD: Go back to that website and let’s put in some numbers. We;ll put in INTERVIEWER 2:So this is Sophia Vergaro,
KENNARD: Just put in 10 eggs and press the calculate button there.
INTERVIEWER 2: What are we finding out?
KENNARD: You’re going to get a live birth rate. Do you see it there? It’s pretty hard to see INTERVIEWER 2:12.7%, so that’s her chance of having a live birth.
KENNARD: If she freezes ten eggs, now that would change if she froze 20. That’s on the low side INTERVIEWER 1:That’s not very high, is it?
KENNARD: Right. Even if you doubled it, it’s still probably a little on the low side, but even if you double it, it’s still pretty low.
INTERVIEWER 2: Okay. You wanna try it with me?
KENNARD: Let’s try you.
INTERVIEWER 1: Let’s put your numbers in.
INTERVIEWER 2: 27, I’m scared, it’s like I’m taking a test.
INTERVIEWER 1: With ten eggs, too?
INTERVIEWER 2: Ten eggs is good. Let’s do the same amount of eggs.
KENNARD: That’s usually what they suggest for each baby that you want to have.
INTERVIEWER 2: 31% chance
INTERVIEWER 1: And do you think that’s low? For Courtney?
KENNARD: I think that’s a little bit low. We might be up around 40, 50%, but I think the important thing is it’s not like a bag of frozen peas.
INTERVIEWER 1: [LAUGH]
KENNARD: You know, just put them in the freezer and take them out later and thaw them out and you’ve got good peas. [LAUGH] They’re not all good quality. They’re not all going to fertilize. They’re not all going to implant.
INTERVIEWER 2: So can you talk about the process of freezing your eggs, because I did not, I didn’t know what that means. I mean you hear it a lot, but what does that mean?Is it hard?
KENNARD: Yes, but don’t let it stop you.
INTERVIEWER 2: It just keeps getting better and better. [LAUGH] How hard, why? [LAUGH]
KENNARD: It’s worth it. You might need it. Many women get pregnant in their late 30s and they don’t need it. They don’t need frozen eggs. So we don’t just sort of spit out our eggs in a moment of passion. We have a different process. So we have to go through fertility drugs.
INTERVIEWER 1: [LAUGH]
KENNARD: Was that okay? It’s early morning, sorry.
INTERVIEWER 2: Are there needles involved?
KENNARD: Well, the woman has to take fertility drugs. Given by injection. It’s kind of a science project.
INTERVIEWER 2: Okay
KENNARD: Those are all needles you would give yourself, or maybe a friend would do it for you.
INTERVIEWER 1: I’d be happy to stick you.
KENNARD: And then,
INTERVIEWER 1: How big is an egg?
KENNARD: Oh it’s a tiny little, it’s one cell. It’s tiny.
INTERVIEWER 1: Okay.
KENNARD; You can see it like a dot. It’s a dot.
INTERVIEWER 2: So where do you take them out?
KENNARD: We take them out We use a needle to get them out of your ovaries.
INTERVIEWER 1: Are you serious? We freeze your lower body. [LAUGH]
KENNARD: You won’t feel a thing. A little pressure. [LAUGH] INTERVIEWER 2:[LAUGH]
KENNARD: And then we get the eggs out and then you’re done, but it’s a lot of hard work.
INTERVIEWER 1: Fascinating. How long can you keep the eggs frozen?
KENNARD: Indeterminate now, probably years.
INTERVIEWER 2: Okay. So if I don’t have kids by the time I’m 30, is that when I should do it, or is there an age?
KENNARD: You know, the younger the better, so 30 is a good age. Unfortunately, I see a lot of women who are Sophia Vergaro’s age or 38, 39. And that’s, you know, not that likely to work. She’s got plenty of money so she can do it, she can try it out.
INTERVIEWER 2: But I think people, I mean especially when you have your second marriage, third marriage and to a younger guy. Because she has a grown son, he’s out of the house,
KENNARD: That’s a whole different story.
INTERVIEWER 1: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER 2: Well, this has been very informative.
INTERVIEWER 1: Pretty safe to say I won’t be freezing any eggs.[LAUGH] INTERVIEWER 2:You and me both. I’m putting it off if I’m going to. [LAUGH]
KENNARD: Ok. Well that’s fine.
INTERVIEWER 1: Thank you, Dr. Kennard, for your time.
KENNARD: My pleasure.
INTERVIEWER 1: Coming up, it is national donut day and we are going to celebrate.
INTERVIEWER 2: We are switching gears here at Columbus Live. Amy’s Doughnuts after the break.