Women in India are often expected to live their lives pre-determined by what society deems correct. While the definition of 'settling-down' refers to having a stable income for men, the exact phrase defines marriage and child-bearing for women. The patriarchal Indian society has consistently overlooked the emotional needs of the feminine gender. However, the 21st century brought in a wave of change in the mindsets of women. The ladies increasingly occupy managerial positions in MNCs, climbing professional ladders in the Armed Forces and holding critical roles in the government while combatting the constant pressure of settling down in their twenties.
How Does Freezing Eggs Help?
The pressure of marriage starts bearing as soon as a girl completes her education. Starting to earn for themself is a clear indication for elders at home to find a suitable match for her, or else she would get 'late'. Women are the most fertile in their twenties, hence the pressure of finding someone to spend the rest of their life and starting a family. A woman's fertility starts declining in the thirties; however, there have been thousands of cases when women have birthed healthy babies in their late thirties or early forties. Science and Technology is the answer to every problem in today's world.
Dr Krishna Chaitanya, scientific head and clinical embryologist at Oasis Fertility, said that unlike men, who produce sperms throughout their lives, women are born with a limited supply of eggs. "As women age, the number of eggs in the ovaries decreases and the percentage of unhealthy eggs increases. After 35, eggs decrease both in quality and quantity. So, suppose there is an underlying medical condition that will affect egg health, or she cannot plan pregnancy due to social reasons like study or career constraints. In that case, she can freeze her eggs", The New Indian Express reported.
Therefore, Indian women have been introduced to freezing their eggs for starting a family later in life. While most women cherish motherhood, today, they also want to do justice to their professions and eventually start a family when they are financially and emotionally capable of funding one. Women no longer want to be the helping hand in the family or give up their careers post marriage or childbirth. A World Bank study done in collaboration with the National Sample Survey Organisation states that 20 million Indian women quit their jobs between 2004-12, of which 65-70% never returned to work.
Not everyone finds the right partner for life in their twenties or has achieved all that they had dreamt for themselves; however, the only worry is the biological clock keeps ticking as the years' pass. Egg freezing is a way to stop the biological clock, preserve younger and healthier eggs and give women an extended period to have children whenever they wish. In the West, freezing eggs at an earlier age is the most preferred choice for women who want to have children later in their lives.
What Is The Procedure Of Freezing Eggs?
In the procedure of egg freezing, a woman's eggs are harvested from her ovaries and frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen at the temperature of -196 degrees Celsius. The woman's age is the detrimental factor in the quality of eggs; the younger, the better. Therefore, women should freeze their eggs early for better chances of getting pregnant. Younger eggs also have better potential, and one could achieve more eggs per treatment for better quality. Then, when a woman is ready to conceive later in life, the eggs are thawed and fertilized with sperms.
Before beginning the procedure of freezing eggs, doctors perform several tests to examine the number of eggs, often referred to as ovarian reserve testing. Moreover, a complete health checkup is done to assess the woman's condition. To begin with, the patient needs to take some injections to stimulate the growth of mature eggs in her ovaries, after which the eggs are harvested using a needle. The needle is put in the vagina of the woman with ultrasound guidance. Doctors define it as a safe and straightforward procedure. The quality of the harvested eggs is checked before freezing them, in a process called 'Vitrification'.
The woman must take care of her health during the entire process, which means regular exercising, nutritious food habits, and adequate sleep. While alcohol would not impact the quality of eggs much, other drugs and intoxicants should be a complete no while the ovulation cycle is on since they might react with the medicines. Women across the world who are not ready for the child-bearing can consider this option for bearing healthy children while prioritizing their educational, career or personal goals.
Some women have a family history of early menopause. In those cases, doctors' advise the patients to conceive early to avoid unnecessary complications later in life. Moreover, the development of this technology has come as a boon to people suffering from autoimmune diseases or undergoing a bone marrow transplant or cancer treatment. Technology also benefits the interests of single women who have not yet found the right partner and would not have to hurry to marry someone, else they might lose the joy of motherhood.
When Was The Technology Developed?
The Technology was developed in the 1980s so that women who have cancer could preserve their eggs before losing them to chemotherapy. India is a hub of fertility treatment among South Asian countries and attracts childless couples from Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The fertility treatment in India is the most affordable and reliable, and the cost for the entire procedure ranges from ₹1.5 to ₹1.7 lakh.
The development comes as a boon for women opting for single parenthood. Until now, the decisions of reproduction were taken by the husband. Gone are days when women would be married off as soon as they finished education. Now, women across the country are taking a stand for their dreams and beliefs. However, too much of everything is dangerous. Therefore, if everyone starts deferring their childbirth, the implications could be far worse than ever imagined. Moreover, the process of egg freezing does not guarantee a pregnancy. Therefore, decisions must be carefully thought of before actions.
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