Charlotte yogi and travel adventure guide Sydney Duarte is not one to post personal stories and private information for her more than 21,000 Instagram followers. So it was a surprise when Duarte, who has the Instagram account name @traveling_gypsy, chose to share her journey of freezing her eggs on social media.
She chose to share because she wants other women to know about this procedure– and to know it’s not as scary as it may seem.
Follow me along my journey to freeze my eggs Feeling excited, overwhelmed, grateful…feeling all the feels. I’m taking a personal journey over the next couple of weeks, and wanted to share in case anyone else is thinking of going on a similar journey (or maybe never thought of this as an option for themselves.) . As I’ve watched my friends start families of their own over the years, I’ve learned unique insight into what can happen when women wait too long to try and get pregnant. In addition to fertility decreasing, other health risks arise. Some friends have used donor eggs and said, “I wish I’d known I could freeze my own eggs”. After hearing this a couple of years ago, I thought on and off about going through the process for myself…I also thought I would have a family of my own by now, but hey, what are ya gonna do?♀ I hadn’t met the right person to begin that next part of my journey with. I am currently doing really well in my career/traveling the world and doing all of the things I love to do. Some women maybe don’t have the finances to begin a family, or are invested in their career, or maybe like me, thought they had all of the time in the world. . I was aware of the ideal age to freeze my eggs as I blew out the candles on top of my 31st birthday cake this past July. I knew that fertility begins to decrease at age 30 and rapidly declines at age 35, and learning from my friends’ experiences helped me decide that I didn’t want to wait any longer. . This whole experience is very empowering for me as a woman. I know I will never have to sacrifice having a family or being a mom, and this gives me an extended time frame to begin that next chapter of my life for when the time is right. . #DrYalcinkaya of #carolinasfertilityinstitute @CFI_clinic and the #Ovest team have put my mind at ease for any and all questions that I’ve had and has been guiding me through every step of the way. I’ll be documenting the process to hopefully educate, encourage and guide others that are interested in freezing their eggs as well. If you have any questions, please reach out to me. I am EGGcited to share the behind the scenes with you. Love and Light PC: @noodlesmilk
As a career women with both corporate and private endeavors, Duarte decided to put parenting on hold, but not indefinitely.
Early this year, on her 31st birthday, she got to thinking about what it would look like to have a family, but in the distant future. Being in a new relationship, she knew she wasn’t ready to make the choice to have children. She decided to reach out to a few friends who had taken the plunge into parenting.
“So many women I know wish they’d been aware of this process sooner,” she says of the option to freeze eggs, making her decision to share this journey with Carolinas Fertility Institute (CFI) publicly all the more enticing. Choosing to postpone motherhood can have a “negative stigma,” she says, “but it’s actually empowering.”
She has watched friends face challenges when opting to have kids later in life. Friends have had health risks, fertility issues, and have willingly resorted to using donor eggs. Now many of them say they wish they knew they could have used their own.
YAY!! The adventure begins!! Feeling EGGcited today! Follow along the next couple of weeks! If you didn’t see my post the other week, I’m taking a personal journey to freeze my eggs, and will be sharing snippets along the way to encourage and guide others that are interested as well (or maybe never thought of this as an option for themselves.) If you are not familiar with the process, Egg freezing, also known as mature oocyte cryopreservation, is a method used to preserve reproductive potential in women. Eggs are harvested from your ovaries, frozen unfertilized and stored for later use. . I met with Priscilla of #carolinasfertilityinstitute @CFI_clinic and the #Ovest team. She answered ALL of my questions, guided my through how to properly use the medications (including the correct way to place the caps back on the needles so that I don’t accidentally prick myself) She was SO kind and patient throughout the conversation. I really feel cared for with this group and appreciate the time they take throughout every step of the process to make you feel special instead of another number. . I am looking forward to sharing the behind the scenes journey with you. If you have any questions, please reach out to me . Love and Light Sydney Music: Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) | Bethel Music
Duarte connected with Stephanie Bingham of Project 33 Marketing, who underwent the procedure of freezing her eggs last April at age 37. She was settled in her career but had not found the right person to share parenthood with.
“It doesn’t mean you’ve given up,” Bingham says.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Both Bingham and Duarte see this as a way to continue pursuing what is right for them while allowing themselves options for the future.
The Ovest program
The program through which Duarte will freeze her eggs is called Ovest, the Carolinas Fertility Institute’s newly branded fertility preservation program. Their Charlotte-based office is located just beyond the Elizabeth neighborhood next door to Lupie’s.
“I don’t feel like a number with them,” Duarte says of their personable staff and clinic.
“We are excited about launching our new Ovest program because it targets an underserved market in North Carolina and, specifically, the growing Charlotte area,” says Dr. Tamer Yalcinkaya, who, according to Bingham and CFI, is known for being the first doctor to produce a live birth from a frozen egg in North Carolina. Here, most in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques involve already-formed embryos.
“Ovest enables women to take greater control of their health and desire for future child-bearing, and we are proud to be able to help them do so,” Yalcinkaya says.
The institute hop-es to make this process, which can generally cost around $7,000, accessible to everyone, so there are flexible payment schedules and financing for those who qualify.
The process is fairly simple. First, a patient takes a pill to prepare the ovaries, followed by injections to prepare the body for extraction. Duarte has already began the process, with her first injection– which is done by yourself at home- having taken place last week.
“Doing it yourself is scary,” says Duarte, but a nurse from CFI walked her through the entire process over the phone.
Egg extraction takes place about a week after the first injection, with only a day needed for recovery.
Should a woman choose to get pregnant on her own during the time her eggs are frozen, the eggs can be donated to women who are having difficulty conceiving.
If you’re considering this- whether you’ve had kids but want to wait down the road for more or are choosing to wait, Duarte says, “At least give them a call to ask about options. Everyone’s body is different so the procedure is individualized and there are options you may not have thought of. I have friends with kids 6-months-to-6-years-old asking about the process and it’s good to have options.”
Duarte doesn’t want anyone else to make these reproductive decisions for her.
“Growing up in Kentucky, when I graduated high school,” she says, “everyone was like, ‘OK good. Now you can get married and have babies.”
But she wanted to be stable for her future family first.
Eggs will stay frozen for up to ten years. Duarte said this frees her mind from worry and control over the future, allowing her to work and continue to travel.
If you are interested in this procedure, reach out to Carolina’s Fertility Institute for a free phone consultation and follow along on our social media for a chance to win $1,000 off this procedure.
Photo Credit: Sydney Duarte