An Egyptian woman, Reem Mehanna, has recently posted a Facebook video that went viral, sharing her experience of being the first Egyptian woman to freeze her eggs. Reem covers a few points in her video about her OB’s reaction to what she wanted, why she thought that was a good idea and what she is planning on doing next.
Reem stated that her OB told her that she would be the first Egyptian woman to go for an egg freezing procedure. She also explained details about how she went for the procedures a few years ago which required several incision to be made in her abdomen in order to extract the eggs and keep them safe for further use. The egg freezing process keeps the eggs viable for later use for up to 20-30 years.
In explanation to why she went for the procedure, she said that she doesn’t plan on getting married before she’s 30 because she wants to have enough time to build her own career. She also added that this is what she thinks is most applicable for her, considering that she can’t guarantee that she is going to fall in love with someone that is right for her when it isn’t too late. Therefore, she thought freezing her eggs would be her backup, in case she found the love of her life when it’s challenging to naturally have a baby.
Given how the egg freezing process is one of the many social taboos we have around in Egypt, Mehanna’s video has caused too many controversies to rise, between those who supported her and others who didn’t seem that fond of the idea, which wasn’t really very surprising considering that it isn’t something people are used to living around yet. Though, doesn’t its impact and what it would lead to from changes in a woman’s life really deserve that we break the stigma around it?
In reaction to the news, Dar Al-Ifta announced that the operations is permissible in Islam if it follows four conditions: the eggs can only be used in case of marriage and can only be fertilized through the husband’s sperms, they can’t be fertilized inside another woman’s womb, eggs have to be secured to avoid any mixing, and finally doctors have to assure that the embryo won’t be affected in any way throughout the procedure.
This could really be a window of opportunity for many women out there to increase their chances of becoming mothers. Regardless of their reasons, whether it is their priorities at different phases in their lives, or it is due to health conditions that could prevent them from having a baby naturally until a certain age, like women subjected to chemotherapy for example. There are so many strong reasons that could make egg freezing a favorable option.
Needless to say, the process doesn’t just increase women’s chances to become mothers at an older age, but it also decreases the societal pressure surrounding them to get married early in order to have a better shot at getting a baby. It draws women’s attention to focus more on who is the person they are getting married to and how compatible they are with them. Hence, decreasing the rate of failed marriages and giving women the freedom to live a life free of society’s expectations of how they need to live their lives.
We believe that Reem Mehanna has taken a great leap of faith sharing this with the world; but we also know for sure that she can be a positive push to other women to have better chances at being mothers, with the least possible pressure applied on how they should live their lives in order to get there.