Eggs Over Time: How One Woman Froze the Biological Clock to Embrace Motherhood on Her Own Terms

Suzanne’s journey to motherhood exemplifies her resilience and careful decision-making, serving as a beacon of hope that egg freezing can yield a life-changing and empowering experience. Like many women, Suzanne always dreamed of having a child and experiencing the incomparable bond of motherhood. Yet, as years went by, she found herself navigating the unpredictable waters of love and partnership without finding the right person to start a family with.

Around 2013, when she was in her early 30s, Suzanne approached her OB/GYN with questions about egg freezing. The response, however, was disheartening. Her obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/Gyn) suggested it didn’t make sense to freeze eggs at her age, because data at the time suggested that Suzanne was too old to freeze good quality eggs to use in the future. This conversation cast a shadow of doubt over her hopes, but her desire to become a mother didn’t extinguish.

Time marched on, and Suzanne, now 37, revisited the conversation about egg freezing with her OB/Gyn. She was excited to hear that the data had changed over the last few years, and this age was posited as potentially her last chance to preserve her fertility.

Empowering Her Future

Filled with hope and determined to secure the option of having kids in the future, Suzanne turned to the Fertility Centers of Illinois. There, she took the leap and decided to freeze her eggs, embracing the possibilities that this decision could unlock.

Though she was excited about the benefits of “freezing” the biological clock, she was apprehensive about all the steps she needed to take to achieve her goal. Thankfully, she had an exceptional care team to help her through the process. Suzanne recalled, “All of a sudden, this box of injections showed up on my front porch and it’s a big deal. I remember it feeling overwhelming the first time because what if I do it wrong and it doesn’t work. But the nurses offered to do demonstrations. They walked me through it.” Once she made it through the egg retrieval, she could breathe a sigh of relief knowing that she had done everything she could for her future family.

Fast forward to a few years later, the pandemic hit, making it even more difficult to find the perfect match between lockdowns and fear of getting sick. She was living in New York at the time and found herself wrestling with the notion of using her frozen eggs and venturing into motherhood on her own. During this time, Suzanne was planning to move back to Chicago where she would continue with fertility treatment and even went so far as to find a donor. However, life, as it often does, had its own narrative in mind.

The twist in Suzanne’s tale came with the unexpected. Before she could proceed with using a donor to have a child of her own, she decided to give love another chance, turning to dating apps. It was there that she met the man who would become her husband. Their connection was undeniable, and together, they decided to embark on the journey of parenthood.

Using Her Frozen Eggs and IVF

Fueled by their shared dream, Suzanne underwent another egg retrieval at the age of 42. This time around, she was more at ease. She was already familiar with the process and received a lot of support from her care team. “You’re going in once a week or twice a week. You see the same people for your ultrasounds and they’re rooting for you. The whole team was welcoming, and everyone paid attention to the particulars of my care.”

To increase their chances of creating healthy embryos, they fertilized both the newly retrieved eggs and those she had previously frozen. It was a moment that bridged her past hopes with her future dreams. The culmination of their efforts brought an emotional revelation—the only embryos that could be transferred came from the frozen eggs when she was 37 years old. It was a poignant reminder of her journey, of decisions made at a time of uncertainty that now cradled their shared hopes.

As she looked back on the results of her treatment, Suzanne emphasized the importance of egg quality and its role in family planning. “Egg quality matters. In your early 20s you’re most likely trying not to get pregnant. The more people can talk openly about fertility options and feel supported and not judged the better off people will be and free to make different decisions at different points in their life.”

The embryo transfer that followed was a period of anxious waiting. And then, success. Their care team shared their excitement of a positive pregnancy test. Suzanne remembered, “When the transfer was successful the nurse wrote me a handwritten note, which was really nice.”

A Bundle of Joy Arrives

Their daughter was born in April 2023, a beacon of joy, the embodiment of a journey fraught with obstacles, decisions, and unwavering hope. Suzanne shared, “You don’t want to get your hopes up, but when she was here, and she was okay and I got to hold her it was too good to be true after all these years. After, ‘will I find a partner? Will the baby be okay?’ And now she’s here. I feel so lucky.”

Holding her baby for the first time was an emotional whirlwind. “It all felt very hard to believe after the transfer and everything. We did have some complications, but when she was born it felt like an out of body experience.”

Now, as Suzanne and her husband bask in the glow of their new roles as parents, they find themselves pondering the future. With four embryos—three girls and one boy—waiting, the conversation about expanding their family lingers in the air, a beautiful possibility that speaks to both the passage of time and the incredible journey they’ve undertaken.

Throughout this process, Suzanne found solace and strength in a circle of friends who had traversed the uncertain paths of IVF. Their shared experiences, words of encouragement, and unwavering support served as a guiding light, reminding Suzanne that she was not alone in her journey.

Reflecting on a Dream Fulfilled

Suzanne’s story is one of perseverance, love, and the incredible options one has to bring life into the world. “I can’t imagine having grown up in a different era. Where you don’t have these fertility options,” she expressed gratefully. “You can adopt and there are other options. But I feel lucky that it’s so supported today because the options are pretty wide for going about family planning.”

Suzanne encourages anyone who wants a family someday to consider freezing their eggs, even though there may be challenges to overcome along the way. While Suzanne was lucky enough to have insurance that covered a significant portion of her treatment, she recognizes it can be a big financial commitment for others. She shared, “Try to keep the focus on the bigger picture. When people are thinking about it in different phases of their life, this is something worth saving for. I encourage everyone, even if in your 20s, to save a certain amount of paycheck every year. It’s much better bang for your buck and value for your buck when you’re younger.”

Another roadblock for many is apprehension about the treatment, which Suzanne experienced herself. She continued, “If you have a fear or needles or the doctor’s office, it is very short in the scheme of things. And you’re doing it for the bigger picture down the road. It’s important to keep perspective because it can feel like a lot. It is a time commitment; you’re trying to work and you’re going to all these appointments. Not everybody wants to talk openly about it, so maybe you’re also keeping it from other people in your life or in the office. It can feel heavy when you’re going through it. Keep focus on the bigger picture.”

For those navigating how and when to start a family on your own terms, Suzanne’s journey stands as a reminder that you can empower your future by taking control of your reproductive health and that sometimes, the dreams that require the most fighting for are the ones that bring the greatest joy.