Cover Photo: Photograph by Gabrielle Henderson/Unsplash
Photograph by Gabrielle Henderson/Unsplash

How I (Finally) Decided to Freeze My Eggs

Sometimes I joke that I’m already primed for motherhood because I’m already well-versed in guilt, blaming myself for things over which I have little control.

I hope I never have to make that choice.

egg freezing

I

There’s no harm in that, right?Just a simple query.

It’s only testing, it will give you a clearer picture of what you’re dealing with.Freezing my eggs would buy me time to figure out if this is

quantityquality

I need more more more eggs for a sure bet

Two days before I was scheduled to go on a three-day hike through Jade Mountain, one of the tallest mountains in Taiwan, my period arrived a week early. I cancelled my plans, with apologies to my friends, and called Denise.

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The doctor pulled out a calendar and made a plan. She told me when I should book my flights back, when I should begin to take my medication ahead of the appointment, when I could expect to do the extraction. She was probably used to people’s disappointment, I thought dully. I tried to keep up with her, to plow ahead, to shut out the negative feelings that were pushing at the edge of my brain. All is not lost, I tried to remind myself.

“I’ll see you in October,” she said. Maybe I only imagined the pity in her voice. 

I picked up the medication—hormones that I later discovered were commonly given to women in menopause—paid for the day’s expenses, and exited the clinic. And that’s when I began to cry, finally, the self-blame I’d been trying to keep at bay crowding into my head.

Why did you wait until the last month you were in Taiwan to do this? Why didn’t you pull the trigger when you first started researching this? Why didn’t you just freeze your eggs at twenty-eight, like your mom told you? How many eggs will go bad between now and October? What has your hesitation cost you? You should have done this sooner, you should have researched this sooner, you shouldn’t have / should’ve done /

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Karissa Chen's fiction and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Gulf Coast, PEN America, Guernica, and Longreads. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan in 2015-16 and received a 2019 Fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, and  is a proud Fellow of both Kundiman and VONA/Voices. She currently serves as the Editor-in-Chief at Hyphen, Fiction Editor at the Rumpus, and a Contributing Fiction Editor at Catapult. She is working on a novel.