Jessie Kahnweiler is a 32-year-old American actress, writer, comedian, film director and YouTube personality, who has never hesitated to take on sensitive and controversial topics. One of those is her latest project: freezing her eggs.
In a recent essay of hers, she openly discussed how she decided to go through with this procedure.
“The decision to freeze or not to freeze is going to happen gradually,” she wrote. “Don’t stress. Live your life but pay attention.”
The idea of freezing her eggs first came to her mind when a guy she was casually seeing told her that he didn’t want to ever have kids.
Kahnweiler quickly responded, “Whatever. I don’t need kids. My films are my babies.” but inside her mind she was struggling with the idea of a partner and a family one day.
“ I do want a family and I’m just now realizing that. I didn’t want to be in the position where I was at war with my own biology. There was something that I could do, so why not do it.”, she said and added that “it’s way too much pressure to put on someone that you’re dating and on myself”.
A few months after their conversation, they broke up, and Kahnweiler began to work on Bump — a potential TV series about a twenty-something woman who becomes a surrogate for an interfile 40-year-old woman.
“For the project, I interviewed dozens of women in their forties who experienced fertility issues. Some chose adoption, some chose multiple rounds of IVF, some chose to stop trying to have kids entirely — but all of them said the same thing to me: “I wish I could have been more proactive when I was younger,” she wrote.
“Meaning, by freezing their eggs they could have possibly avoided some of the emotional and financial stress that fertility treatment entails.
These eye opening experiences led her to “decide to bust out the bottle service and put my eggs on ice,” she wrote. “Or at least go talk to a doctor about it…”
The night before her first consultation with a fertility specialist, she stayed up late on the Internet to come up with a list of prepared questions.
“Will the procedure damage my ovaries? No. Will it decrease my chance of having kids naturally? No. Will the hormones drive me to the brink of insanity? No,” she wrote.
She also realized that her well-educated friends also had zero education on what it really meant to freeze your eggs.
“There is still so much stigma,” she says. “Some of them said, ‘Wait, wont that kill your ovaries?’ There is so much fear. People need to start talking about it more.”
While the decision to freeze her eggs was difficult, she didn’t know how tough the hormones she was required to take would also be on her body.
“I had to give myself all of these shots and mix all of these chemicals,” she says, “and I had to do it at a certain time every day. It was painful. Emotionally, you’re on this total roller coaster — and you’re bloated.”
When Kahnweiler’s doctor determined that her eggs were ready to be retrieved, they give her a shot that she had to take in the middle of the night to induce ovulation.
After her actual egg retrieval in July, she says she felt sore and tired, but she was physically back to her old self in less than two weeks and after this time she has been able to live her life with even more freedom than she had ever before.
“I can continue to pursue my career and not have this pressure to have children now,” she says. “Why do so many men have children later in life? I basically feel like I’m borrowing male privilege. If I want to have a kid at 45, I can have a greater chance of doing that now.”
She is looking forward to working on her movies, follow her dreams, becoming more financial stable and eventually bringing a baby into the world when it will be the time that she wants to, not when her biological clock tells her she has to.
And she says it was her 97-year-old grandmother’s reaction to her procedure that really hit home: “She said, ‘Great. Now you won’t have to marry a guy just because you want to have kids.’ ”
Kahnweiler says it was the best decision she ever made.
“Maybe I’ll defrost the eggs in 10 years, maybe I’ll adopt, maybe I’ll be the quirky stepmom, or maybe I’ll just get more cats,” she wrote. “The point is, I am now an educated woman with choices.”