Who should consider fertility preservation? More people than you may realise.-image

Who should consider fertility preservation? More people than you may realise.

We created Hertility to give women a way to proactively track their fertility, but the last thing we want to do is panic people who aren’t in a position to have babies just yet or scaremonger people into starting a family when they’re not ready. Cue: fertility preservation, as explained by our trusted partner clinic, The Evewell

Quick Facts:

  • Fertility preservation is not just for single women; it’s relevant to anyone who is not yet ready to start a family regardless of their relationship status.
  • You can freeze eggs, or embryos (fertilised eggs) with either a partner or donor sperm.
  • Fertility preservation is also a form of ‘Strategic family planning’, a way to work towards building the family you want before you get pregnant with your first child.

Fertility preservation: the difference between freezing eggs vs. embryos

Let’s talk about something very topical right now: fertility preservation. You’ve probably heard about it in the context of egg freezing, almost always in relation to single women, but in reality, it’s something that may be relevant to many more of us than we think.  

Emma Whitney, Director of Embryology and Genetics at The Evewell in London (and @emmatheembryologist on Instagram), is passionate about helping people understand the available steps they can take today, so they can have options to build and complete their family in the future.

In this article, she will take you through some of the science as well as the groups of people who are or should be thinking about fertility preservation.

To speak to a member of our nursing team about The Evewell Clinic and how to access services contact referrals@hertilityhealth.com.  Our team will be able to book in your appointment and provide insights into pricing and next steps.

The Evewell Clinic, West London

 Firstly, what is fertility preservation?

Fertility preservation is when we collect eggs and then we can either freeze them at this point (the well-documented egg freezing option) or create embryos by fertilising them with either partner or donor sperm and freeze those instead. We work with patients to help them make the best choice for them.

Talking about freezing eggs or embryos is something I speak to patients about every single day and we can help patients decide which option is best for them depending on their family goals. What is so frustrating is that many people have not considered fertility preservation because they didn’t understand it related to them or could have supported them in creating their future family.

So could fertility preservation be relevant to you? 

I’m in a committed relationship but we’re not ready to start a family yet…

I see it all the time, for people in their 30s, the pressure to settle down and start a family can intensify, particularly if they’re in long-term relationships. But for some people now is just not the right time. It may be career commitments, financial concerns or simply still having things on the “list” they want to do or achieve before they become parents.

What’s interesting is that people in committed relationships may just feel fertility preservation isn’t relevant to them because it’s all about egg freezing for single women. By explaining that it’s not just eggs that can be frozen, but embryos too, it’s a bit of a lightbulb moment as they realise this is quite literally, a way to press pause and start a family when they’re ready.

And for those of you thinking: I’m not sure I want to freeze embryos with the person I’m with right now, you can freeze both eggs and embryos, giving yourself even more options for who you want to start a family with.

We’ve been trying to conceive but it’s harder than we thought…

When people are trying to have a baby, the focus understandably is getting pregnant as quickly as possible, and little thought is given to what will happen when you want to have baby two and beyond.

As more people are starting their family later in life, it can be harder than they thought. Some find it takes more time or they need medical support. What’s frustrating is that we often see patients in The Evewell who are now two to three years older than they were when they had their first baby and now it’s considerably harder to achieve a second pregnancy.

If I know people want more than one child, I always talk to them about ‘strategic family planning’; making sure we aren’t just focused on baby number one, but how we can help them plan for the family they dreamed of.

This is when embryo freezing – before the first pregnancy – can be a really useful option. We call it ‘strategic family planning’ because it’s a strategic approach that really can make the difference between needing more invasive, exhaustive and expensive treatments later down the line, when you’re – inevitably – a couple of years older, with older eggs (and with a toddler running around!)

I’m single and I may want a family in the future….

Single people in their 20s and  30s are understandably confused and feeling overwhelmed. On the one hand, they understand the harsh fact that females are born with all the eggs they’re ever going to have, and, as much as science and technology have improved almost all areas of our lives, we haven’t been able to stop a female from losing her eggs, or those eggs ageing.

But they’re also being bombarded by press articles telling them that egg freezing is not the solution. Just this month, Tory MP mother of three Miriam Cates told women they should not consider egg freezing and that if they wanted to be parents, to have babies “sooner rather than later”.

It’s this kind of attitude that is really distressing. I see this all the time in the clinic because women who haven’t met their life partner and who don’t want to parent alone, feel like they’re left with no choice and they may never become a parent.

Egg freezing of course doesn’t guarantee that one day someone will become a parent, but what it will do is give us more chances, and that’s what I’m trying to support people to understand. As a society, we need to improve fertility awareness and education. And this is where brands such as Hertility are leading the way, helping people to understand their fertility, so they have options for the future before it’s too late.

Empowering your reproductive future

In the end, fertility preservation boils down to two things: knowledge and empowerment. It’s not just for single people or those facing infertility—it’s for anyone who has a goal in mind, values autonomy and wants to secure their reproductive future.

Our role as healthcare professionals at The Evewell fertility clinic is not to sell someone the dream of living their best life now and holding a baby in the future. Our job is to listen to patients, understand what they want to achieve and do all we can to support them to give them the best chance of making this a reality.

We really don’t want patients to have to go through extensive IVF cycles to achieve their family dreams. We’d much prefer it if everyone had regular fertility checks, understood their ‘normal’, started to think about what their ideal family looks like and if they need to take action, we’re there to help guide them.So, do your research, talk to your friends then contact referrals@hertilityhealth.com to book in to see one of our doctors and make informed decisions that mean you’re making choices that align with your future family planning goals (whether you’re ready to start a family tomorrow or years down the line).

Meet the Evewell

The Evewell is one of the UK’s leading fertility clinics, providing a gynaecological-first approach to fertility treatment. With a focus on patient-centred care from their clinics on Harley Street and West London, the highly experienced team of fertility and gynaecology consultants and highly trained embryologists are dedicated to helping our patients build families — combining world-leading clinical expertise with human empathy.