EMILY Hartridge, 34, wasn't about to miss out on her chance of motherhood and with the help of a syringe full of hormones she was to taking control.
The personal trainer and vlogger from London explains why her experiences with dating apps made her decide to freeze her eggs.
“Looking at the syringe, I took a deep breath. About to inject myself with hormones to stimulate my ovaries so I could freeze my eggs for fertility treatment, I felt proud that I was taking my future into my own hands.
“After spending eight years being let down, ghosted and lied to by hopeless men on dating apps, I refused to miss my chance at motherhood. I’d always assumed I’d settle down and have kids when the time was right, and even when my last serious relationship ended in 2011, I didn’t worry. But after two years of being single, I decided to try my luck with dating apps and signed up to Tinder, as some of my friends had met their partners through it.
“At first it was fun swiping through the guys, wondering if they were worth meeting up with. But as soon as I actually started swiping right, I quickly learned about the world of ghosting, where men would show initial interest then disappear without a trace. It was frustrating, but I refused to be disheartened.
“My first Tinder date was in June with Sean*. I liked him, as he seemed a bit of a laugh – plus his profile picture was really hot. However, when I spotted him outside the bar, my heart sunk – he looked nothing like his photos and was at least three inches shorter than me at 5ft 11in, even though he’d assured me he was over 6ft. Not wanting to be rude, I duly went on our date – but got so drunk to deal with my disappointment that I had a raging hangover the next day.
“As time went on, I tried Bumble and Hinge, too, but one bad date followed another, and I realised that maybe my friends had just been lucky. Maybe I had bad luck, but a lot of the guys I met seemed to use the apps for sex and not much else.
“In December 2016, I starting talking to a man called Christian*. He was really funny and had lovely eyes, and for the first time in ages I allowed myself to think I might have met someone decent. But within minutes of us meeting up at a pub a few weeks after we’d first spoken, he gave my bum a hard squeeze. I was so appalled, I chucked my wine in his face and stormed out.
I knew one of my friends had looked into egg freezing, and in theory it was the perfect solution for me
“That night I decided to quit dating apps in the hope that I’d meet someone nice in real life who I could have a child with one day. However, as I tried to convince myself that at 32 I still had time on my side, I couldn’t ignore the niggling thought that it might not happen.
“I knew one of my friends had looked into egg freezing, and in theory it was the perfect solution for me – by that point I’d wasted years on dating apps. What if I didn’t actually find someone until it was too late? But at a minimum cost of £10,000, it was out of my budget.
“Then, out of the blue, my mum offered to pay for the procedure after I told her about it. I cried with joy, and after lots of research went to the London Women’s Clinic in October last year. There, I was shocked when tests revealed that I already had very low fertility levels.
“I was advised to start treatment right away with three rounds of egg freezing costing £15,000 in total. It was so much to take in, but I was glad I’d found out sooner rather than later.
“Two weeks before I was due to freeze my eggs in November 2018 I met Jake, 27, a fellow PT. We hit it off and I told him about getting my eggs frozen. Thankfully, he was very open-minded about it. However, I’d already started injecting myself with hormones, which didn’t give us the easiest start to our relationship. It didn’t affect our sex life, but my moods were all over the place, and some days all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball. “But Jake was so supportive and even came with me for my first procedure.
“I had another round of egg freezing in February this year and am due to have my final one in June. It’s early days for me and Jake, so we haven’t discussed having kids yet, but hopefully in the next few years I might have a child. I don’t feel ready just yet, but when do you ever? While there’s no guarantees with egg freezing, it’s a comfort to know my eggs are there if we can’t conceive naturally, and if we do ever split up, I’d have no qualms about considering donor sperm.
“I’m so glad Tinder made me turn to egg freezing – it revealed my low fertility levels in time for me to do something about it. Whatever happens with my love life, I know I’ve done all I can to have a child one day.”
Egg freezing rates have more than quadrupled since 2010.**
32% of women freezing their eggs in 2016 were under the age of 35.***
The UK storage limit for frozen eggs is set at 10 years.***
Sources: **De Montford University Leicester ***HFEA
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