A new controversy arose across social media platforms after an Egyptian woman revealed she had frozen her eggs "a couple of years ago." Reem Mehanna posted a video on Facebook back in August, stating her reasons for undergoing the procedure.
In the video, she relays how and why she froze her eggs.
"I have always been convinced that I wanted to get married after the age of 30, after I have built my career. It's also what I feel is suitable for me."
She also added that she couldn't be sure when she would end up getting married and that she was waiting for the right man. Whether she meets this man at the age of 32 or 46, her decision has given her the chance to have children whenever the time comes. To her, getting married to anyone just for the sake of having a child before it's too late was never an option.
When Mehanna initially mentioned to her doctor her decision, he was shocked, admitting he has never heard of any woman in Egypt requesting this procedure. However, freezing eggs is not uncommon nor is it a complicated operation.
Egg freezing, also known as mature oocyte cryopreservation, is a method used to save women's ability to get pregnant in the future. Eggs harvested from ovaries are frozen, unfertilized, and stored for later use. A frozen egg can then be thawed, fertilized by sperm in a test tube or elsewhere outside the body - this is known as "in vitro fertilization" - and finally implanted in the uterus.
The first human birth from a frozen egg was reported in 1986. Over the last four decades, the preservation process has advanced immensely, and the overall success rate of eggs surviving the freezing process has progressed greatly. It is no longer considered an experimental procedure by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
In general, the two most important factors in determining the probability of live birth are the woman's age at the time of egg freezing - the younger the better - and the number of available eggs.
Mehanna recommended women who are diagnosed with cancer to take this initiative before undergoing treatment due to the effects of chemotherapy on fertility.
Cancer patients are not the only ones who must consider undertaking oocyte cryopreservation, but also women with chromosomal abnormalities, family history of early menopause, ovarian disease with risk of damage to the ovaries, and genetic mutations requiring removing the ovaries. Or, simply, women who would like to delay pregnancy and childbirth for more social or personal reasons, as Reem Mehanna has done.