TINA WEAVER: Egg freezing could end the anguish of women dating to find a dad
Sophie swipes left. And left again. She’s on Tinder. She’s not looking for just a date, but someone to father her child. Sophie is 41, successful, but in a panic. She’s been single for 18 months after splitting from her long-term partner.
He graciously informed her – after nine years of living together – that he wasn’t quite ready for babies and settling down ‘after all’.
Now Sophie fears she will never have children – and she’s far from alone.
In just one generation, the number of childless women has doubled. One in five of us are now without children by the time we turn 45 – and that figure is rising.
In just one generation, the number of childless women has doubled. Egg-freezing is a chance for today’s young women to reserve their right to have children (file picture)
Sophie is a good friend who says bleakly that she had always assumed motherhood would be part of her future.
She hasn’t ‘selfishly delayed parenting because of her career’, as women are often harshly accused of, but is the victim of cruel circumstance.
Now the men she meets are either in relationships or simply not right. She feels pressured and punished for being childless. And she talks openly of ‘panic partnering’ – hence those Tinder dates.
Yet there is hope for future generations of Sophies. Controversial, clinical, but real.
Egg-freezing is a chance for today’s young women to reserve their right to have children. To future-proof their fertility.
PC adverts can’t change our nature
Advertising watchdogs have banned negative gender stereotyping in commercials because it’s ‘harmful’. A review found it stops people fulfilling their potential, as well as causing pay inequality and mental health problems.
So gone are men failing at household chores and women clearing up a mess around male family members.
Anything reinforcing ideas that boys are daring and girls are caring is also off the menu.
But as the mother of two sons, this defies common sense. Like most of their testosterone-fuelled friends, from a young age they played rough and tumble games. The moment someone gave them a toy gun one Christmas, they wouldn’t put it down. Meanwhile, my nieces would rather play quietly with colourful beads.
Much of our behaviour is down to the way we are wired by nature, rather than the way we are brought up. And no amount of politically correct rules is going to change that.
New successful methods of fast freezing – called vitrification – can be a game-changer for women, says Stuart Lavery, a consultant gynaecologist at Hammersmith Hospital in London.
‘Hundreds of times I have the difficult conversation with clever and successful women trying to get pregnant around the age of 40,’ says Mr Lavery.
‘If they had had this option ten years ago, they would have taken it.’
It’s a new frontier with little data complied, but early figures show pregnancy rates from the frozen eggs of young women to be good.
The fertility regulator, the HFEA, now recognises it as a ‘viable clinical technique to preserve fertility’. Experts stress that success rates very much depend on the age women undergo the procedure. It should ideally be before you are 36, so that you can produce enough good-quality eggs to allow for only a small percentage that will thaw, fertilise and lead to a baby.
In the United States, where companies such as Spotify and Apple offer the process as a staff perk, clinics are actively targeting young women.
But if egg-freezing is an insurance policy, it’s far from the complete panacea.
Outdated UK laws mean eggs can be stored for only ten years. So a woman preserving her eggs at 28 faces the same dilemma at 38, if still single, when legally the eggs have to be destroyed.
It’s perverse that the official advice is to freeze your eggs young, but regulation dictates that they are disposed of before you can use them.
The Government needs to keep up with science and change this law urgently.
UK laws mean eggs can be stored for only ten years. So a woman preserving her eggs at 28 faces the same dilemma at 38, if still single, when the eggs have to be destroyed (file picture)
AND we need to educate our children better at school. Lessons focusing on how NOT to get pregnant have successfully driven down teenage pregnancy numbers. ‘We need to teach both girls and boys about diminishing fertility,’ says Professor Geeta Nargund, of St George’s Hospital, London. ‘And we should enable young women to freeze their eggs and take this time pressure off them.’
Of course, there is expense too – typically more than £3,000, plus ongoing storage costs. Some women might need more than one round to harvest adequate eggs.
However, it’s still cheaper than the often futile and soul-destroying repeated rounds of IVF in our 40s.
Pop star Rita Ora, 28, has already frozen her eggs. X Men actress Olivia Munn, now 38, has done it too, saying: ‘I think that every girl should… you don’t have to race the clock any more.’
And if I had a daughter in her 20s, I’d be urging her to do the same, too.
In a year of Royal weddings, details of the grand nuptials of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert will be revealed in a BBC documentary this week.
There was a 10ft-wide wedding cake, and courtiers had to trawl the country to find 12 aristocratic young ladies whose families were, erm, untarnished by scandal to act as bridesmaids.
The wedding night of the young couple, whose romance is often described as the greatest Royal love story, was fraught. Victoria vomited and complained of a headache – now thought to have been a migraine. Albert seems to have drowned his sorrows in response because, according to Victoria’s diary, he was ‘poorly’ in the morning and had ‘to remain quiet’ in his room. The first officially documented Royal hangover.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker flipped the hair of a female official at the EC headquarters entrance in Brussels
How DOES creepy Juncker get away with doing this?
Like a lascivious, sozzled old lech, Jean-Claude Juncker, leers towards his prey. His droopy wet lips gaping.
‘Oh, oh,’ he chunters, before fluffing and lifting up the woman’s hair.
He pulls her in roughly for a kiss, then homes in on another blonde for an unreciprocated slobber.
The first woman turns to camera. Her face says it all: Mortified. Humiliated. Violated.
But this sex pest is the esteemed – or steaming – head of the EU, so I must accept his harassment.
Lesser offences have fired up Times Up and Me Too in the US. If Juncker was Trump, there would be a law suit filed. But the man shaping OUR destiny casually commits ‘hair rape’ and staggers on…
Strictly’s Christmas Day Cinderella special will be a must-watch. Not least because Ann Widdecombe – dubbed ‘The Dalek in drag’ by naughty Bruno Tonioli – is back after eight years.
Widders, now 71 and reunited with her Prince Charming Anton du Beke, has no problem being cast as an Ugly Sister.
‘I know I’m the entertainment on the show,’ says Ann, sportingly. As the row rumbles on over Ashley and Faye’s ‘professional training’, Widders with her clunky, graceless twirls, reminds us just why we fell in love with Strictly in the first place.
Which bright spark at Tory Party HQ thought it was a great idea to set their Channel 4 political broadcast in a butcher’s shop? Dead meat is perhaps not the right message – in this week of all weeks.
Officials in Cadiz, Spain, are capturing and relocating 5,000 ‘nuisance’ pigeons to a town 400 miles away. Presumably each one will be given a little blindfold to stop them flying right back again?
Huw Edwards has shed three stone and acquired a dewy, wrinkle-free complexion and a slicked-back hairdo. In fact, he seems a shoo-in to replace Robbie Williams in Take That. Could it be magic?
Huw Edwards (left) has shed three stone and acquired a dewy, wrinkle-free complexion
Huw Edwards could be a shoo-in to replace Robbie Williams, pictured at the X Factor show launch in July, in Take That
While most of us just drop our children at school and don’t see them until pick-up, helicopter parents in the US are insisting on having lunch with their little ones.
The problem has become so bad that frustrated teachers have banned parent-pupil lunches altogether in one Connecticut district because of ‘overcrowding and disruption’.
Apparently pupils whose parents didn’t show up felt neglected. And those whose parents did, threw tantrums when it was time to go. I’m clearly doing something wrong. My kids would rather eat a plate of raw broccoli than have me turn up in the school dining room.
Michelle Obama revealed she suffered from Imposter Syndrome and was plagued by self-doubt.
J-Lo – still courageously championing gender stereotyping – arrived at the premiere of her film Second Act in an enormous explosion of pink net, suffering from what I can only think must be Princess Syndrome.
J-Lo arrived at the premiere of her film Second Act in an enormous explosion of pink net
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