Brooke Boney: ‘Why I chose to freeze my eggs’

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What happened on the day of your egg retrieval?
You go there in the morning and you get put under a twilight anaesthetic. Then they go in and get the eggs out and tell you how many they got and how many are capable of being frozen. It all sounds really technical and medical but it was such a lovely experience to come to understand that your body as a thing that’s capable of doing something that’s wonderful. It made me have a greater reverence for women because we’re capable of growing human life. We don’t give our bodies enough credit for the things that we put them through. I know this sounds a bit woo-woo – maybe it was the hormones!

How did being in lockdown affect the process?
It was a lovely thing to go through during a lockdown as we weren’t allowed to do anything anyway, so I didn’t feel like I was missing out. You see all the changes in your mood and in your body, and all of that shifts with the hormones that you’re taking. It made me realise that I really do want to have a family and I really do want to have a baby.

“It’s just about having a plan in the same way that you would plan to move to another city, or for a job you want, or to go to uni. It’s just about being a bit more mindful about it.”

BROOKE BONEY

Were you happy with the results?
I got a pretty good result – they were happy with it. But I am thinking I’m going to do another round, just to be extra careful. Also, because we’ve got at least another couple of months of some sort of lockdown, I figure I might as well do it because I’m not spending money on an overseas trip or buying clothes to wear, or spending money on dinners, so I’d rather have a bit more security and increase my chances. Everyone I’ve spoken to has said you will never regret doing it again. Keep in mind, something like nine out of 10 women don’t go back and use their eggs. Most of the time, people either have children naturally or choose not to have them at all. So this is more of a security thing.

What did it cost?
It is expensive; it’s around $7000. But I think it’s worth it for the peace of mind. I think it should be included in salary packages and divorce settlements. It’s not just a women’s issue, fertility is a broad societal issue, particularly to allow for women to move up the corporate ladder and close that gender pay gap.

When do you think you will use your frozen eggs?
I think it’s nice just knowing that they’re there. I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next few years, given the way the world is. But that’s another weird side effect of the pandemic too – the effect it’s having on women and fertility. I know people who are in long-distance relationships, so it’s impossible to get pregnant.

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Would you consider doing it alone?
I would consider going alone. My mum was a single mum, so I don’t think it’s the worst outcome to do it on your own. I just have to wait and see what’s out there for me. But this made me feel like I had a bit more control of parts of my life, which is something I think we’re all really missing at the moment.

Do you wish you’d known more about fertility when you were younger?
I wish people had spoken more openly about it when I was in my 20s. I think there is this illusion that we have a lot longer than we actually do. There’s no harm in going to find out where you’re at. It’s better to find out, rather than wait until it’s too late or leave it to chance. If this is something that’s important to you, then you should prioritise it.

What message would you give to other women?
I don’t want people to miss out, or settle down with someone they don’t like, or not take a job they really want, just because they didn’t plan for their fertility. I’m not even in a situation where it’s urgent and I need to do this as soon as possible. It’s just about having a plan in the same way that you would plan to move to another city, or for a job you want, or to go to uni. It’s just about being
a bit more mindful about it, rather than just leaving everything to chance and hoping it will work out.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale September 26. To read more from Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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