I was out last week for dinner, and during an intimate conversation about our lives and families, my friend asked, “Have you ever thought about IVF and freezing your eggs?” To which I responded, “I’ve never thought that far. I know about In vitro fertilisation (IVF), but I don’t know it like that.”

According to the Clue period app, Egg freezing, scientifically called oocyte cryopreservation, is a process in which a woman or person with ovaries’ eggs (oocytes) are extracted, frozen, and stored. The frozen eggs can later be thawed and used in a procedure called in vitro fertilisation (IVF) for the individual to try and become pregnant.

IVF is an advanced, needle-filled procedure in which eggs are surgically extracted and then fertilised with sperm outside the body to make embryos, after which one of those embryos (or multiples) is placed into your uterus or a surrogate’s in the hopes of achieving pregnancy.

In the UK, the average age to freeze eggs is 37. Still, as discussions about reproductive ageing and fertility preservation continue, a growing number of young women under the age of 25 are choosing to preserve theirs. I came across a series on TikTok by PhD student Shania Bhopa, who decided to freeze her eggs at 25. “I did it to buy myself time to get closer to my purpose in my professional life,” she says in the video, “so hopefully, one day, I can be super intentional with my time as a mother.” She wants control, she says, over her entire timeline to scale her businesses. And, despite being in a loving relationship, Bhopa, like many 25-year-old Gen Zers, had no plans to become pregnant in the near future.

As a 25-year-old myself, egg freezing provides a pause on the pressure to watch your biological clock. For someone who is not thinking about having kids or building a family right now, I would consider it for that reason. My vibe right now is just living life, literally.

Personal Trainer Janet (25) explained, “As hectic as it sounds, it does allow one to live and achieve what one wants without a reminder of what time requires of you. I’m not mad at the girls freezing their eggs; I get it.”

Additionally, I think we, as young women, sometimes overestimate our ability to become pregnant as we age. God forbid, but younger people may experience difficulties due to health conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or genetic diseases, which may disrupt one’s ability to have kids. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that infertility affects around 17.5% of the adult population or roughly one in every six people worldwide. Therefore, egg freezing and IVF became an essential part of the conversation.

Aunty West (45), a family member, said, “These procedures were not common during my time, and we didn’t have a choice to do things by the book without considering the other options and ways to live that may have been available. I’m intrigued by younger people taking this step.” Observing the past generations’ challenges, the urge to follow norms for education, work, marriage, and motherhood appears to be easing. Many young individuals are increasingly choosing to provide for their future self by investing in egg freezing.

These processes are costly. In South Africa, an egg-freezing cycle costs approximately R40,000, and an IVF cycle costs about R73,000.

Herbalife Coach Love (25) remarked, “I’ve researched such medical processes before. I’ve had my first child, and for my second child, IVF is a huge option for me. There are risks involved; however, carrying another child myself is not something I am willing to do”.

More than anything, deciding to freeze eggs and use IVF is very personal. It depends on many factors, like career goals, costs, health issues, and the need for flexibility in family planning. It’s crucial to have open, informed conversations on fertility, reproductivity and family planning.

As a Gen-Z, what are your thoughts on egg freezing and IVF as a strategy for future family planning?