Young Kiwi woman banking on motherhood
A 24-year-old Christchurch woman who's spending $15,000 to freeze her eggs and help ensure her dream of motherhood is urging other young women to consider doing the same.
Monica, who did not want her last name used, was told recently she would have to have a baby within the next two years because she has just one third of the egg count most women have at her age.
"At 24 it's obviously not the best news...I've always known I wanted kids, it's something I've never questioned," she says.
"I'm not in a position right now to have kids, but the concept of not being able to have kids was heartbreaking, so I immediately looked at back-up plans or alternative options and egg freezing was really the only alternative."
She says there's a lack of awareness about potential fertility problems.
"I think it's a very blanket assumption within my age group that you're bulletproof when it comes to having kids, that nothing is going to go wrong and you'll just be able to do when you want to," Monica says.
"Until I was sitting in a doctors' room -- I didn't even know you ran out of eggs."
Monica says she hopes to get young women talking.
"We don't talk about it enough, we don't discuss it with our friends enough, we just think what we've got going on is normal and therefore we just kind of go about a daily lives and assume we are going to be able to have kids and unfortunately that's not always the case."
She would be using her savings for her OE to pay for the treatment.
"For me it's 100 percent worth it because it gives me a chance to be a biological mother but for a lot of people I respect it's an excessive amount of money."
Genea Oxford fertility expert Dr Janene Brown says more young women are enquiring about "banking their eggs".
"Mainly younger women are coming in because of medical issues, but also career women or perhaps women who are going to put having children off until later."
"We haven't got large numbers at this stage but I think in New Zealand we're slightly behind what's happening overseas and certainly overseas it's becoming more prevalent that this is something young women are doing.
"It's only a newish technology, it's only been around four years but now we are feeling confident with the technology that we offer."
Success rates vary, with the chance of a birth from frozen eggs ranging from just five to 50 percent.
However, Dr Brown says there does need to be more awareness.
While people think IVF is a guaranteed back-up plan, it's only around 50 percent successful at best. The longer you leave it, Dr Brown says, particularly if you're over 35, you're down the "slippery slope".
"It's this whole idea of freezing your fertility."
"It's a bit like botox -- how young is too young?" Dr Brown says.