Why One “Older Woman” Didn’t Consider Freezing Her Eggs When She Was Younger

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Our HR Manager Breeann Pletikosic writes about finding out fertility problems are more likely after the age of 35 – not years ago from her OB/GYN – but only after she started working in fertility.

Why an older woman didn't consider freezing eggs | RSC SF Bay Area | Woman holding nest with eggsSince I was in my early 20s, I knew I did not want to have kids before I was 30 years old. Friends of mine had kids at a young age, and I saw how they struggled and did not want that for myself. I wanted to finish college, establish myself financially and live my life to the fullest before I settled down to marriage and children.

Every year I had my annual Pap exam. Starting around the age of 28, when I would go to these annual exams the doctor would ask if I was planning to have children. And I would say yes, one day I will but I’m not ready yet. She would say, You should start thinking about it soon.

But she didn’t give me any explanation as to why I should not wait to get pregnant. I shrugged her off, thinking that I would have children if and when I was ready.

I met my husband when I was 33 years old, and my now 6-year-old son was conceived naturally when I was 35 years old. Since his birth, at my annual OB/GYN exams the doctor would ask if I was planning to have more children. Each time I said yes, and each time she would say, You might want to consider talking to a specialist.

But she didn’t give me any explanation as to why I should seek a specialist. I thought to myself, Why? I don’t have fertility problems, I have a healthy baby boy that I conceived naturally. Again I shrugged her off.

I discover I’m an older woman

In July of 2015 I began working at Reproductive Science Center as the human resources manager for the practice. I was pregnant then, early in my first trimester. Soon after, I had a miscarriage at 13 weeks and the fetus was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, something that is apparently common in older women.

“Older woman? I was only 40 years old, I had regular menstrual cycles, and I can obviously get pregnant and have a baby. Women in their 50s were having babies, what is the issue with being ‘older?'”

Before working at RSC I had little knowledge of infertility. My assumption had always been that a woman was born with so many eggs and when she ran out she couldn’t have any more babies. I did not realize that the quality of a woman’s eggs also decreased as she got older.

My other assumption was that infertility was when you were unable to get pregnant or carry a baby to term. I did not realize there are so many other factors that play a part in fertility.

I wish I had known that the quality of a woman’s egg played a role in getting pregnant and having a miscarriage. I don’t think I would have had children any younger, but I do think I might have seriously considered freezing my eggs or other proactive measures to help with trying to conceive a healthy baby.

I became so much more aware of a how the woman’s body, reproduction and fertility (for both women and men) work being here at RSC – and eventually becoming a patient. I am now 42 years old, and the quality of my eggs is the main factor that lead me to pursue fertility treatment.

I was afraid of having another miscarriage (I had one in 2013 as well) and did not want to go through that emotional turmoil again. After a year-long process of consultations, egg retrievals, a few minor procedures and embryo testing, I am now pregnant with two healthy babies due in July 2017.

 

– Breeann Pletikosic, SPHR, HR Manager

Mother kissing little baby at home

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