We were intrigued to read a story that appeared on the Telegraph website recently about US fertility expert Dr Aimee Eyvazzadeh.
Dr Eyvazzadeh runs regular egg freezing parties – a new craze that is proving particularly popular with professional women working in America’s Silicon Valley, the area of Northern California that is home to thousands of tech start-up companies, including major players such as Facebook, Google and Netflix. Party guests are given canapés and cocktails and get the chance to chat about their careers and fertility before Dr Eyvazzadeh gives a presentation about the benefits of egg freezing.
The number of working women in the US who are opting to freeze their eggs for lifestyle reasons (rather than medical reasons) is growing rapidly, and the practice is particularly popular in Silicon Valley, where women in tech companies are working their way up the corporate ladder well into their forties. Dr Eyvazzadeh claims that her egg freezing service offers working women peace of mind, allowing them to pursue their careers without worrying that their fertility clock is running against them.
But with an average age of 38, the reality is that the vast majority of Dr Eyvazzadeh’s clients will have only a 13 to 25% chance of success when it comes to using their frozen eggs for IVF treatment*. The Doctor’s presentations and Q&A sessions are extremely informative – she doesn’t skirt around the less encouraging statistics, such as the fact that by 30, most women have already lost around 90% of their eggs – and her suggestion that all women should have a simple test at 25 to assess any future fertility issues, is certainly a positive one.
But underneath it all Dr Eyvazzadeh is still running a business, and this becomes apparent at the end of her presentation, when she offers party guests a 10% discount if they decide to sign up for her $10-15,000 egg freezing service. Her clients seem to understand the odds – many of them are working with huge budgets and hitting performance targets on a daily basis, and are used to making big decisions. But all the strategy and forward-thinking in the world won’t make a difference if these working women put fertility too far down their list of priorities.
*Based on UK Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA) data.