Don't put dream of being a mother on ice for frozen eggs

BEFORE I became a mum I had seven rounds of IVF – two of which included using frozen donor eggs – to try to get my longed-for child.

I thought those miracle frozen donations really were my golden ticket to motherhood after a lot of loss, heartache and money.

From a shortlist at the IVF clinic, the Geordie and I picked out a donor — a woman we dubbed “Glasto Girl”.

She described herself as a fun-loving nurse in her twenties who enjoyed festivals, had pink hair and wanted to help a childless couple.

We loved her spirit and kindness.

I was told I had a great chance of success because, not only was I fit and healthy but I was using eggs from a woman more than a decade younger.

We eagerly handed over yet more cash, I pumped myself with drugs, banned alcohol and processed food from the house, drank two litres of water a day, crossed my fingers and toes, obsessed . . . and prayed.

We tried twice with the frozen eggs. Both failed. We were devastated.

So this week, when it was announced there will be a change in the law so frozen eggs, sperm and embryos can be stored for 55 years instead of ten — so women can get pregnant later in life — I felt sadness for all those who would pin their hopes on it.

Ministers said the change was needed because of the trend towards later parenthood and so women don’t feel pressured into getting pregnant early in life.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which regulates fertility practices and clinics that provide it, welcomed the extension.

But, is it really that marvellous?

Data is scarce, but in 2018 — the year I put my money on Glasto Girl — the chairwoman of HFEA, Sally Cheshire, said: “Currently women using their own frozen eggs in treatment have a success rate of 18 per cent (30 per cent with frozen donor eggs), which offers no guarantee of achieving a successful pregnancy and birth.

“Clinics have an ethical responsibility to be clear that egg-freezing below the age of 35 offers women their best chance of creating their much longed for family.”

And last year, renowned fertility expert Lord Robert Winston said the number of eggs that actually result in live births after freezing is about one per cent.

The maths speaks for itself.

Nobody pointed it out to us. I didn’t ask.

I knew Glasto Girl was in her prime, I put my trust in the IVF doctors, handed over the cash and dreamt of becoming a mum.

The odds using donor were better than if I’d actually frozen my own eggs.
But in my twenties, egg-freezing wasn’t even “a thing” and I was far too busy having fun and building my career to even think about a baby.

Plus, I hadn’t met anybody I wanted a family with.

I was in the same position as millions of other women.

But now this new ruling apparently means we can have it all.

Women seemingly won’t have to rush or panic to choose a man. All they’ll need to do is pay (the NHS won’t stump up for freezing for social reasons) and put what they need on ice at the prime of their lives.

They will be able to get on with their careers safe in the knowledge that their fertility is apparently on hold and they can turn frozen eggs into a bouncing baby decades later.

It’s all very well having a baby, but it’s harder caring for a child in later years

But these eggs of the future can’t be relied on — the statistics show that.
I am now in my forties and often feel — and look — like an ancient mum dropping my son off at nursery.

If these frozen eggs all worked, we could have mums aged in their sixties or even seventies at the school gates.

It’s all very well having a baby, but it’s harder caring for a child in later years.

Frozen eggs MUST be seen as an emergency back-up plan, a last resort.

And each and every time a young woman pays to have her eggs frozen, she should be given a harsh warning: The odds are not in your favour and you can’t simply pop back in 20 years and be guaranteed to get the family you have been dreaming of for decades.

And, if it does work, have you thought about how old you will be when they get to school and university?

If these warnings aren’t given now, we could have a generation of women who never get to become mums at all.

Tom's beef is cheek

TOM KERRIDGE has defended charging £87 for sirloin steak and chips at The Hand and Flower pub in Marlow, Bucks, following criticism.

The chef says prices are high because he pays his hospitality staff “properly” and treats their jobs as professional careers.

That’s great and I applaud him.

Just a shame many professionals won’t ever be able to afford to eat his pub grub.

Unwise crack

I HAVE never really found Jimmy Carr – or his tax-avoidance behaviour – funny.

And I doubt his two-year-old son will find it hilarious in years to come to discover that his dad kept him a secret until this week, when he decided to announce his arrival to the world by cracking sick jokes about adoption and ugly children.


BoJo's Jab Fab

BORIS JOHNSON has ordered Tory MPs who want to meet him in Downing Street for a drinks party on Tuesday to bring proof that they have been double-jabbed or had a recent negative test.

I don’t blame him.

Forget about his position, his power, his job. He nearly died from Covid and his wife is pregnant.

It means they can party without worrying about infections among his team – and if they’re really lucky Michael Gove might show off his moves on the dancefloor.

Kate is just so strong

“THANK YOU so much for voting. I wonder if the reason you did is because our story is your story,” Kate Garraway said at the National Television Awards ceremony on Thursday.

The GMB host was picking up an award for her documentary about her husband Derek’s fight with Covid.

She has been through more in the past few months than many people go through in a lifetime.

But she has continued to work to pay the bills, cared for her kids, fought for her husband and made a documentary about his battle to raise awareness.

Kate shows what true bravery and strength really means.

After the NTAs, she dodged all the parties and glitz.

Instead, she went to a hotel room and FaceTimed the husband she so clearly adores to tell him she had won the award.

And now she is planning a sequel to the documentary.

What a woman.

Strictly painful

BY my guesstimate there have been more than a dozen nasty accidents on Strictly Come Dancing.

So you would think somebody might have explained to Corrie’s Katie McGlynn that she was supposed to be pretending to kick a GLASS glitterball prop, instead of giving it a good old boot during promotional filming . . .  for which she was wearing open-toe shoes.


Ending was so cruel

DID Geronimo the alpaca have TB or didn’t he?

It is still being argued about.

But when the time of his fate was set in stone and there was nothing more that could be done, his owner Helen Macdonald deliberately disappeared.

She hoped that if his legal owner wasn’t there, he wouldn’t get killed.

So Geronimo was dragged from his field by strangers while protesters wept.
They were the most disturbing scenes. The poor animal was bewildered and terrified.

I am sure his owner was distraught.

But being a decent owner means doing the decent thing for your animals, even in the most hideous and heartbreaking of circumstances.

I think it’s disgusting that she didn’t bravely comfort him and make him feel secure and loved right until the very end, when it was clear there was no alternative.

Emma’s an ace

EMMA RADUCANU has balls – getting to a grand slam final at just 18.

She has a total lack of fear and is a fantastic role model to young tennis fans. But I love that she’s so down to earth.

During an interview on Thursday, she was asked how her parents had reacted to her wins.

She told an audience they had “ghosted” her text message even though they were online.

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