Fertility has been in the back of my mind since my 20s when I started considering more seriously whether or not I wanted kids. The answer to that question wasn’t an emphatic yes, but also not a clear no. I was focused on school and career, I hadn’t found the right partner, and I was very conscious of the changes and sacrifices kids can bring.
Nonetheless, this voice in the back of my mind kept nagging me: Should I be worried about my biological clock even though I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids? How much time did I have to find the right partner and make a decision? Would I regret not having kids if I biologically couldn’t? Would I be just as happy adopting? How could I know whether I’d have fertility issues beyond those associated with aging?
In my late 20s, the first sets of friends quietly and heartbreakingly struggled with fertility issues. Others decided to start trying for a baby; not wanting to get too close to “advanced maternal age” (what a terrible term!) in their 30s was often a factor. I was working long hours and had yet to meet someone I wanted to start a family with when I began hearing about egg freezing: A new procedure that allowed women to have some of their eggs retrieved and frozen, so these eggs could be used at a later point if needed. Unfortunately, the price tag of $16k in my city was too high for me, but egg freezing stayed on my radar.
In my early 30s I got married to somebody who will make an exceptional Dad. Knowing I’ll have him as my partner in crime made my decision to have kids much easier. That said, we both wanted more time with just each other and our careers before adding a tiny third. So we did the math – if we had two kids that weren’t too close together, I’d be close to 40, and my husband over 40 for the second. We also knew that one in eight women between 15 and 44 struggles to become or stay pregnant, and that sperm concentration has decreased by over 50% among Western men since the 1970s, so worrying about our fertility was very rational.
Laying out our timeline for kids was a lightbulb moment for us. We’d previously only focused on our timing for the first baby, but taking into account the timing of baby number two really changed our perspective. It was at that moment that a friend of ours returned from Spain raving about her vacation and about freezing her eggs at a clinic in Madrid. Her treatment cost her only a quarter of what she would’ve paid in the US, and she seemed to have had a uniquely empowering and positive experience in this relaxed, beautiful setting. The more we learned about her experience and about Spain as a global leader in fertility, the clearer it became to us that freezing eggs or embryos in Spain was a no-brainer in our situation.
With my friend’s help, my husband and I went on our own fertility journey to Madrid. Over the course of two weeks, we fell completely in love with Spanish food and culture. Madrid itself had so much to offer, and we were also able to explore Andalusia, Catalonia, and smaller historic towns outside of Madrid in between doctor’s appointments. My treatment progressed smoothly, though was more emotionally challenging than I’d expected: How many eggs would I be able to stimulate? What would retrieval day be like? How many eggs might fertilize successfully? My husband’s, my friends’, and my doctor’s support, as well as extensive research, helped me through periods of uncertainty and anxiety. We now have frozen embryos waiting for us that have given us peace of mind in delaying having kids a little longer, and we feel really lucky to have gone on this romantic journey together.
Ovally was born out of the desire to support other women and couples in having the best possible experience undergoing fertility treatments. We designed the Ovally experience to provide you with your own trusted adviser on your fertility journey, and to make it as easy as possible for you – logistically, physically, and emotionally. We’re excited for your adventure and hope to be a part of it!