After two long years of life being at a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Karin Del Rey embarked on a unique journey of self-discovery when she decided to freeze her eggs.
Her story transcends the medical procedure, illuminating personal empowerment and choice in a world of opportunities and change.
At the time when Karin took this significant step, the world was beginning to see the light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel.
Karin had previously lived in South Africa and had always yearned to return. When the president of South Africa announced the country’s reopening, it was a light bulb moment for her and a catalyst for her decision.
She recalls thinking, “Oh, wow, you know, I can do things again.”
Karin’s life was on the cusp of a new adventure. She was about to start a new job and move to Asia, and the potential for personal and professional growth was huge. But, this meant that her journey to family-building might take some time.
The 34-year-old investor grew up in Barcelona, living in close proximity to an egg freezing clinic. This was where she chose to preserve her fertility and safeguard the possibility of motherhood for a later day.
Her friends had already undergone the egg freezing process and had positive experiences. This gave her the confidence and motivation to go ahead with the egg freezing procedure.
Despite the straightforward process, Karin experienced heightened emotions as a side effect of the hormone injections.
Understanding the egg freezing process
Egg freezing is a method of preserving a woman’s fertility for the future. Eggs are harvested from the ovaries, frozen unfertilized, and stored for later use. When a woman is ready for pregnancy, the eggs can be thawed, fertilized, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.
The whole process comprises three steps. First, Injectable fertility drugs are given to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs in one cycle. This typically takes around 10-14 days.
Next, the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries through an ultrasound-guided needle inserted through the vagina. Sedation or anesthesia is used. Most women resume normal activities within a day or two.
The retrieved eggs are flash frozen using a technique called vitrification and stored at sub-zero temperatures using special cryogenic equipment.
When ready to become pregnant, the eggs are thawed and fertilized using IVF. After a few days of development, embryos are transferred to the uterus.
For more information read our guide to egg freezing.
The egg freezing journey: fertility as a part of identity
Karin shared that the physical process of egg freezing was straightforward – a testament to modern medical science’s prowess. But what she didn’t anticipate was the emotional rollercoaster that awaited her.
For the first time, fertility became an integral part of her identity as a woman, and it was a challenging realization. The path to egg freezing made her confront feelings of vulnerability and self-doubt, emotions that had never loomed so large in her life.
The doctors had told her that 12 to 15 eggs was a good number, and they had expected 13 for her. However, at the end of the day, she got six eggs.
“I spent a couple of days extremely sad, I felt angry at myself and my body for not being able to get enough eggs at the time. It made me feel like a bit of a failure.”
She later realised that while the people she had previously spoken to had managed to retrieve many eggs, her experience was not unique to her.
“After I started telling more people, I realized that many had also gotten less eggs, and it was way more common than I expected,” she shared.
Embracing emotional resilience and a support system
Karin’s friends and family were key players in her egg-freezing journey. She confided a lot in her friends and family, who were very supportive throughout the whole process.
She also told her colleagues at work about what she was going through, since she knew that she might not have felt 100% at work.
“I was surprised by how supportive everyone was. They asked me a lot of questions, and I explained the whole process to them. I’m hoping that when they come across another woman who’s doing the same thing, they will be more accepting,” she said.
Karin also embraced self-compassion. She practiced kindness with herself, acknowledging the unique challenges she was facing. Her ability to combine open conversations with her inner resilience allowed her to navigate the emotional complexities of egg freezing.
“I talked to lots of people. Talk to people who have done it. Find out if the process is right for you because it might not be for you.”
Karin also emphasised the importance of ensuring that one is relaxed and surrounded by supportive people before undergoing the process of egg freezing. It’s a personal journey, and the environment plays a crucial role.
The egg freezing process can be physically and emotionally demanding. So, making time for rest is important, especially in our fast-paced society.
Engaging in regular exercise and practicing mindfulness techniques, can aid in nurturing your mental well-being and enhancing your overall experience.
“Most importantly, be kind to yourself,” Karin stressed. She recognised that fertility preservation is not a competition.
“There’s no expectation to perform at your best, and you can’t control everything. It’s about finding the right path for you at your own pace.”
In a constantly changing world, Karin’s story serves as a reminder that modern women have the power to shape their destinies. It’s not just about egg freezing but making choices that align with their dreams and aspirations.
Karin’s journey is a testament to the strength and resilience of women who navigate the complex path of fertility preservation. It’s about empowerment, choices, and embracing the future with open arms.
Read more about other egg freezing success stories here.
Fertility preservation and egg freezing are complex decisions many women face. Making informed choices based on objective evidence can make this journey smoother.
Everyone’s experience with fertility is unique. It’s vital to get advice from fertility experts who understand these nuances.
This ensures you’re making the best decisions for your future family planning goals. To learn more, contact us today.
Jae is a dedicated and experienced content producer and creator who is committed to amplifying voices and fostering engagement. With a background in creating compelling content, her focus is on empowering women, championing their stories and inspiring positive change. You can also follow her on Linkedin.
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