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  • Writer's pictureJessica Taylor Yates

Conversations at brunch: They're doing IVF or egg collection... I think? | Part 18

Updated: Mar 4

Just freeze your eggs and you can totally have kids later, yeah?

jess and will

A new personal blog series exploring the highs and lows that epitomise the conversations you have at brunch.

This is Part 18 of a series. For a recap of Part 1, click here.

You know, I haven't really thought about where this blog series goes. Hopefully winning $200m in the lottery and living happily ever after (people who say money doesn't buy happiness definitely already have money. Because it definitely makes me very happy). But I digress.

We had gone through months of research - countries, agencies, legal ramifications, costs, financial documents, loans, counselling, everything. I won't bore you all, but doing all that while both working full time jobs.... it's a lot. It still is. I've actually forgotten what it must be like to have no life admin to do. Is this being a parent?

As previously stated, for various reasons, we found Colombia was looking like our only feasible option. To be honest, we didn't love it - neither of us had even been to South America, we didn't know many people who had, and the reputation is somewhat stereotyped in the media as to our visions of what it might be like. It just made the whole thing feel even harder, more foreign, more weird, more difficult.

It appears you can look into international surrogacy two ways that I know of - through an agency, or directly with a clinic (like an IVF clinic). A clinic is cheaper, but you need to organise everything yourself - a lawyer, your documents, your embryo transfer, your insurance, you manage everything. Considering we were dealing with human life in another country, we didn't want the risk, and so looked into an agency who would take care of everything from A to Z.

Again, it's all very weird. The amount of information you need to hand over to strangers about you, your life, your relationship, your medical history, your finances. Everyone you know is very intrigued, because of course, they care about you, but also, it's so different and unusual and interesting. We would both go through phases of updating people, and real story fatigue when yet again something went wrong or was unsuccessful. I tell people now - it's like asking someone so, how you going after the terrible break-up? Maybe nice to check in over a cup of tea. Don't ask it when they walk into a bar for a good night out, yeah?

Part of this process, or even us doing IVF in the future (as I was now 35) was preserving embryos. I had done it once already - for those who don't know (I had zero idea) this is a similar process to egg freezing, where my eggs were extracted. If you're freezing solo, that's it.

For embryo creation, they are combined with your partner's sperm and turned into embryos. If doing IVF right away, they'll put one back in the woman. We chose to freeze while looking at options.

As we did not get as many as we hoped, we did this twice. I will also use this a PSA for people, particularly women, looking at freezing eggs or embryos, not as a doctor or health expert, just as someone who's done it.

I will say, we are so lucky to live in the 21st century and have this science available to us. I mean, honestly, being able to freeze embryos, check for disease, and to help people become parents to healthy babies is beautiful and magical and incredible. But it also isn't a guarantee.

I think lots of women think, 'Oh, I'll just freeze my eggs,' if they aren't ready for children, or haven't met someone they want to have children with. And it's fine as a precaution. Just be very clear with yourself that it isn't a guarantee. For example - my first 'round,' I had around 10 eggs.

Out of these 10, six survived.

Of the six, only two were successfully combined with sperm to make an embryo.


The second time, I got 14 eggs - the most of anyone that day. (Side note, I told my younger sister that I Won The Hospital. She called me Monica and hung up. But I did win!)

Of those 14, only four survived.

Of the four, just one became an embryo.


And of these three embryos - it's not guaranteed they will work. It's just a guarantee that the others WON'T.

So it's worth looking into. It's just worth understanding that it may not be a 100%-dead set-contingency plan.

So we had three hopeful little embryos that we weren't really sure what we were doing with. Perhaps hoping I was magically cured. Perhaps not. But they are there, waiting. So are we.


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