Aspen Princess: Let’s talk Apple and eggs
October 29, 2014
Forget about apples and oranges: Let's talk Apple and eggs.
Apple and Facebook recently announced that as a little added job perk, they will sport the cash to have their female employees' eggs frozen so that they may prolong motherhood for as long as their overachieving little hearts desire. Forget about health insurance or a 401k or two weeks' paid vacation — now we're talking futuristic baby making.
I can just imagine the office chatter as female employees commiserate about daily injections and what dose of Gonal-F they were given for their trigger shot or how sore they are when their ovaries swell to the size of grapefruits, wincing with each step as their bloated bellies and sore breasts make them wonder if such extreme intervention was worthwhile.
The talk in bathroom stalls won't be, "Got another tampon?" but, "Got any extra needles?"
While you may have your opinion about how crazy or progressive or just plain bizarre this is, I've got news for you: This has been going on in Aspen for years; it's just that no company has offered to pay for it.
I'm not saying we're all running around having our eggs frozen, but if we knew then what we know now, we might have seriously considered it.
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I'm saying there is a significant population of women from Aspen who have been herded down to Dr. Schoolcraft's office in Denver like a bunch of cattle going off to slaughter. The only difference is they're bleeding out our bank accounts instead of our throats. By the time we arrive at the Big Fertility Clinic with our aching hearts and our open checkbooks, we're way past the egg-freezing stage. We're quickly discovering why freezing our eggs 10 years ago would have been a better idea. We're going there because now that time is no longer on our side, we're desperate.
Apple and Facebook are giving their female employees the luxury of time by offering to freeze their eggs. Time is a commodity that money can't buy — unless of course you're talking about female fertility.
Aspen has a way of delaying the growing-up/settling down process by about 10 years. It might seem like time has been suspended within our idyllic little bubble of ageless beautiful people, but the fact is, time actually flies. There also is the little problem of trying to find a man who loves you as much as he loves his newest pair of skis. So by the time you're married and ready to start thinking about having kids, you're already pushing 40.
Perhaps because of Aspen's magical fountain of youth, there are plenty of women who are able to pull this off (you know who you are), having babies in their late 30s and early 40s. But that isn't always the case, and it wasn't the case with me.
So I often find myself advising younger female friends to freeze their eggs.
Like my friend Cara, who is 36 and is dating a dumb guy who not only does not want to get married or deal with commitment but doesn't want kids.
"I've decided I don't want to have any children," she told me a few months ago. I could hear a strange tone in her voice, like she was trying on this idea like a pair of jeans, saying the words out loud to see if they fit.
I wasn't buying it. My biggest fear for her is that when and if this relationship doesn't work out and she changes her mind, it will be too late.
"You should think about freezing your eggs," I told her. The words just sort of spilled out, like drool on my pillow. "At least then you'll have options later should you change your mind. More importantly, you won't have any regrets."
The crazy thing about youth is the arrogance that comes with it. It doesn't occur to you that one day it will simply disappear like that other sock or that super-expensive pair of sunglasses you left at the bar. And once it's gone, you can never get it back.
"I see a real decline after 42," Dr. Nagle told me one day after yet another failed attempt to get pregnant. "If I were you, I would think about doing something more aggressive."
And off to Denver I went, only to discover several thousand dollars and two years later that Nagle was right. Many clinics won't even do in-vitro fertilization on women 42 and older, and your chances of getting pregnant at that point in your life are less than 3 percent.
I wish I could say my career is what got in the way and not too many late nights crying and puking in the back alley behind Eric's, chasing after men who didn't want me as if it were a professional sport. It never occurred to me that my chance to have children was being squandered away. I just assumed that when the time came, I would do IVF.
Either way, there's no commodity more precious than time. And that's what these women are getting. What Apple and Facebook are doing by offering to pay for women to have their eggs frozen is simple: They are effectively putting them on the same playing field as men. Men can wait as long as they want to have children — Steve Martin just had his firstborn at 67 — but women who want to focus on their careers don't have that luxury. Thanks to progressive companies like these, now they do.
We preserve our youth in so many other ways, with cosmetic surgery and healthier lifestyles. But the ability to preserve our fertility, our ability to have a career and have children on our own time, is truly revolutionary.
One thing's for sure — you'll never think of eggs the same way again.
Now it's her turn: Order up.
The other day some woman on the street told the Princess that she looks like her pug. Email your love to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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