Female celebs warm to idea of freezing eggs to conceive

PHOTO: Female celebs warm to idea of freezing eggs to conceive

SINGAPORE - They are hot, sexy, single - and turning 40 soon.  And they think that freezing their eggs is a good idea.

Top Taiwanese model-actress Lin Chi-ling made the news recently after it was reported that she had frozen her eggs secretly at the National Taiwan University Hospital.

A friend had revealed: "After Lin Chi-ling turned 39 last year, her mother got very anxious about her getting married and having kids. In order to lessen her worries, Chi-ling went... for egg-freezing."

The process, known as oocyte cryopreservation, extracts, freezes and stores a woman's eggs so that they can be thawed and fertilised in the future, when the woman is ready to be pregnant.

Lin denied rumours that she had frozen her eggs, telling regional media that she did not know where the reports came from.

However, the sexy model, who is single, felt it was a brilliant suggestion and that she would not mind doing so.

Single local female celebrities whom The New Paper spoke to felt the same way.

Actress Ann Kok, 41, said: "This is my first time hearing it, I've never thought about it before, but I think it's a good idea and I'll consider it."

The single actress, who left MediaCorp last month, is busy with the promotional activities of local movie Filial Party, which will open here on May 8.

Said Kok: "As you age, your body gets weaker and is no longer as strong as it was. If the technology for egg freezing is advanced and the doctors are confident they can be preserved well, I think it's a good idea."

In an interview with RazorTV late last year, Kok had spoken about marriage and having children, saying she had considered going to a sperm bank to get pregnant.

However, she now thinks that egg freezing is a better idea.

The star revealed that she is close to her family and that her parents have not pressured her about getting married, which is why she "has never really felt alone".

She added: "I am very fine with being alone. If someone comes into my life, it will be like a bonus."

Local actress Cynthia Koh revealed that she has also entertained thoughts of freezing her eggs.

The 40-year-old, who spoke to TNP at the Star Awards 20 post party on Sunday, said: "It was just a passing thought. I think it's very common for women (to think like that), as we live and work in a highly stressful environment.

"You naturally worry about your ability to conceive as you age."

MOTHERHOOD?

The single actress added: "When I was around 30, I badly wanted to have children. But I'm beyond that stage now.

"Now, I think it's more important to find a supportive, understanding companion. Marriage is for life, right? If he loves and wants children, that's great. If he doesn't, it's all right. If he already has children from a previous marriage, I think it's fine by me, too."

Former MTV VJ Belinda Lee, 37, is open to the idea as well.

She said: "I feel there's nothing wrong with women choosing to freeze their eggs. Technology is so advanced now, so what they are doing is basically using the powers of technology to aid them in planning for a baby. If it's something they really want to do, I think it's okay."

Lee, who is single, added: "I do hope I can find The One within the next few years, so I don't have to use (the egg freezing method). It's hard, though. I feel that most guys don't want to date female artistes."

Benefits of egg freezing

Women who plan to have children after they are 35 years old can make use of egg freezing to store their eggs for later use.

A woman is born with a certain number of eggs, but the number decreases over time. The quality of a woman's eggs also declines as she ages.

Egg freezing allows a woman to store her eggs when they are at their optimal quality.

Dr John Wilcox from the Huntington Reproductive Center in US, said: "By the mid 30s and early 40s, a woman's chances of getting pregnant using her own eggs dramatically decreases to less than 10 per cent.

"When a woman freezes her eggs, for example, (at) around the age of 31, she can be assured that the eggs she is storing are the most viable eggs she'll ever have."

To prevent damage to the egg, the process removes most of the water from the eggs and protects them to prevent ice crystals from forming inside the eggs. The eggs can usually be stored for up to 10 years.

When a woman is ready to have a baby, her egg is thawed and injected with sperm. It is inserted into her uterus, allowing her to become pregnant.

However, in Singapore, social egg freezing is illegal. The procedure is allowed here only for medical reasons.

Egg-freezing celebrities

CELINE DION, 46

The Canadian singer had her eggs frozen in 2001when she was trying to conceive her first child, Rene-Charles, who was born the same year. In 2009, she gave pregnancy a second shot and used the embryos.

She gave birth to twin boys Eddy and Nelson in 2010, whom she calls her "miracle" babies.

Dion is married to her manager Rene Angelil, 72.

JOANNA KRUPA, 35

As this Polish American model-turned-reality TV star toys with the idea of having children with her businessman husband Romain Zago, she's already going ahead with egg-freezing.

The Real Housewives of Miami star told US Weekly magazine earlier this year: "I wish I did that in my 20s but, unfortunately, I didn't. So I think I'm gonna do it just in case, because every year I'm like, 'This is the year, this is the year (to get pregnant).' But I'm still focused on other things."

KIM KARDASHIAN, 33

In 2012, the US socialite and reality star revealed her intention to freeze her eggs - on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Kardashian, now a mother to 10-month-old North West and engaged to US rap mogul Kanye West, wanted to be "prepared in case something happens".

In that same episode, her sisters Kourtney and Khloe also faced baby issues - while Kourtney showed her newborn daughter Penelope Disick, Khloe wanted to know why she was unable to get pregnant.

Kardashian had added then: "I'm glad I'm freezing my eggs. I think now I can just be proactive, but I want to make sure when the time is right, I want to be prepared. I should be safe."

SOFIA VERGARA, 41

After getting engaged to businessman Nick Loeb in 2012, the Columbian-born actress started preparing for motherhood again last year.

The Modern Family star already has a 21-year-old son from a previous marriage.

"My boyfriend Nicky is three years younger than me and he's never had a son. I have my son, Manolo, so it's not an emergency for me to have another kid, but for Nicky, he's never had a baby," she said on US talk show Good Morning America last year.

"Nothing happens that naturally anymore. I wanted to take advantage of science. Why not?" she said.

jocelee@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 29 in The New Paper. Get The New Paper for more stories.