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Want to Freeze Your Eggs? Work for Apple or Facebook.

Let me start by saying that I think the invention of egg freezing is a great thing.  It’s being misused, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that its mere existence is awesome.  As in, inspiring awe.

A woman about to head into cancer treatments that may ravage her fertility?  Absolutely — a wonderful use of egg freezing.  Is it a slam dunk that she will be able to have a child with those eggs later?  Of course not.  But the key point here is that she can’t have a child now: she is about to enter treatments.  She will be taking drugs that would affect a growing fetus.  And since treating cancer can’t wait 9 months or longer, the next best thing she can do is freeze her eggs (or utilize another similar option).  She’s done what she can, and she can enter treatments with that what if out of her head.  There has been a similar option for men to freeze their sperm for a long time.

Fast forward to today where the option is being dangled out to healthy women.  Apple and Facebook announced that they would be covering the cost of egg freezing for their employees in order to attract more female workers to tech.  We want you to be able to focus on your career now, so here is a solution that will allow you to work now and have a family (maybe) later.

I think it’s great that a company is thinking how they can provide services that benefit its workers.  That’s a good thing.  But this feels a little like a PR stunt.  How many other aspects of their benefits do you know beyond this one?  None, right?  And I can’t get behind the false hope that is being held out to women.  This feels less like a triumph of science and more like an inferred promise that people will live to regret.

It feels a little bit like Pinocchio and the Land of Toys, which is held out as a haven where boys can “act as they please without recrimination.”  Lampwick tells Pinocchio that boys can go there and have fun and not worry about school or work.  But what happens after they’ve been there for a while?  They become donkeys.

I see the same thing happening to women if they buy into this idea that they are at the wheel when it comes to their fertility.  It’s a different story when you are facing a health crisis and egg freezing is the best option out of a bunch of bad options.  But when we’re talking about a healthy woman who knows beyond a doubt that she wants a family created out of her own genetic material, she needs to know that there are very real consequences to putting family building on the back burner.

There is nothing simple about fertility treatments, even if you enter them happy to have the option at your disposal.  Jezebel (of all places) put together a decent breakdown of the success rates for egg freezing, which is actually a fairly successful medical procedure since pregnancy itself in a healthy 20-something woman doesn’t have a 100% success rate.

Women up to age 35 can expect a 50% chance that her eggs will be functional to make a baby. Women 36 – 38 have about a 35%. Most IVF programs report pregnancy statistics of about 15% – 20% per attempt in women 39 – 41 and freezing one’s own eggs at that age won’t improve those chances.

There is nothing easy about the financial side of treatments.  According to NBC, it looks like Apple and Facebook are capping the amount they’ll contribute.  $20,000 doesn’t go very far at a fertility clinic if you run into a problem.  There is no mention of what will happen if the frozen eggs are unusable and they need to do a fresh cycle?  What about employees who need to utilize donor eggs in the future because they run out of frozen eggs?  Will there be coverage for all the what ifs that we know — too well — become a reality for many women once they start to build their family?

Will these employers cover counseling since fertility treatments often carry a heavy emotional weight?  What about the physical side of treatments?  Will there be coverage if there are complications such as OHSS?  I mean, they’re looking to get at least 6 eggs per harvest, with more being optimal.  Sounds like a situation ripe for overstimulation.

Egg freezing is like telling women they can act as they please without recrimination, whereas we know that biology and the universe more often than not turn us into donkeys.

I am all for insurance plans, but I choose my insurance wisely.  I don’t want to pay for a plan that will not cover me if/when I need to utilize the insurance.  And while we never truly know what we’re paying into until we need to use insurance (all insurance plans seems great when the money is flowing towards them rather than away from them), we often get a sense before we sign the contract based on other people’s experience.  In the case of egg freezing, women can look at those who have used this service in the past as well as the people who are living through fertility treatments now.  Women don’t need to spend time hearing a pitch from HR and they don’t need to go to an egg freezing party; they need to spend some time in a clinic waiting room speaking to actual people who are going through IVF.

I am so grateful that egg freezing exists, and if a person wishes to enter with all the facts at their fingertips, more power to them.  Perhaps I have more comfort with an individual choosing to finance this option on their own because they need/want to delay parenthood whether that be because they want to build their family with a partner that doesn’t exist yet or whether they want to focus on their career.  I trust that when people are spending their own money (especially this much money!) they’ve done research into whether or not the option is really feasible.  But an employer dangling out egg freezing as a benefit for choosing a career at their workplace?  That feels like the Coachman taking advantage of Pinocchio, convincing him that there are no consequences to his actions, just as Apple and Facebook are trying to convince women they can delay all these wish and the world will still be their oyster in the future.

I hope it will be.  But I really fear that it won’t.

October 15, 2014   20 Comments

Facebook Needs to Add Family Accounts

There are a lot of things, apparently, that Facebook must do if they don’t want to lose all their users to other social media sites, so if they’re keeping a list, I’d like to add one more: family accounts.

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Facebook has personal accounts and public pages, but there are no family accounts.  A family can start a secret group and invite people to join, but that’s about it.  Because there is no other outlet on the site, parents share pictures and news about their kids on their personal page, subjecting everyone in their friends list to a blow-by-blow of the t-ball game or ballet recital unless they share those sorts of posts to a select group of friends.

Family pages would fix three problems with one tweak.

I think the obvious one in this community is that Facebook tends to be a painful space for those building their family.  When you just got another negative beta, it’s hard to go online and be bombarded with pictures of babies.  Family pages would pull all those updates and photos off the personal pages, so you could be friends with someone and choose whether or not you also subscribe to their family page.

Also, many people don’t friend someone because they want to know about their kid.  They friend someone because they want updates about the person they’re following.  But directly in conflict with that is that many people state that they use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends from afar, updating them with news about the family.  People could use their personal accounts for their own news, while sharing family news on the family page.  That way, their co-workers and old high school friends won’t have to read family news unless they also friend the separate family account.  Personal pages could go back to being about the person.

Or, really, some people won’t need a personal page at all.  If all they want to do is post family news, they could just have a family account.

The last problem that could be fixed is that children enter Facebook without training wheels.  They go from the offline world to the Facebook world without any instruction on how to comport themselves online.  Children learn a lot by observing modeling behaviour, therefore, a family could use the family account to post together for several years before they release children at 13 (or older) to post on their own personal account.  Family accounts could have multiple administrators, and children could learn in a safe(r) space what to post and what not to post before they need to start navigating their own personal page amongst their peers.

Yes, there are sites such as eFamily or Famster, but we all know the problems that arise from having more sites to check.  We simply stop using them after the initial set up (uh… like Ello?).  Making a family account on Facebook meets people where they already are.  We could keep reinventing the wheel, but doesn’t it make more sense to focus on making the wheel better?

So Facebook, make your site better.  Hey, you may even keep some teenagers around in the process.

What do you think of separate family accounts?  Would you start one?  Or would it just become another divide: would you rather keep family pics and news in the personal account?

October 14, 2014   7 Comments

#MicroblogMondays 7: Who is Scared of a Horror Film?

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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It’s Monday the 13th.  Which has no scary significance, except that it is housed in October, and everything is sort of scary in October.

I used to love horror films.  Not just the good ones.  I saw the first 6 Children of the Corn films.  (Yes, there were more than 6.)  The Nightmare on Elm Streets.  The Friday the Thirteenths.  PoltergeistBlair Witch Project.  And horror books: everything Stephen King.

And then one day, the world started looking too scary, and I couldn’t understand the point in trying to scare myself when there were so many real things to be scared of in the here and now.  And I never saw another horror film.  Though I have a soft spot in my heart for vampires and haunted houses.

Horror films for you: yay or nay?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Persnickety 21. Isabelle 41. Queenie
2. Jen (Days of Grace) 22. LAM 42. m. (the maybe baby)
3. Middle Girl 23. S 43. Laurel Regan @ Alphabet Salad
4. Mali (No Kidding in NZ) 24. earthandink 44. Created Family
5. Mali (A Separate Life) 25. Emma (Muddy Boots & Diamonds) 45. Kimberly
6. No Baby Ruth 26. Mrs T 46. Trisha
7. Kate 27. Just Heather 47. Justine
8. Aditi 28. Turia 48. torthú il
9. Lori Lavender Luz 29. Liz 49. Rain
10. Mina 30. Stephanie (Travelcraft Journal) 50. Geochick
11. Katie 31. Running Nekkid 51. awomanmyage
12. JB 32. Waiting for Baby 52. Stacie
13. Karen (River Run Dry) 33. sharah 53. Ke Anne
14. A. 34. Brooke 54. Are You Kidding Me?
15. Inconceivable! 35. dennasus 55. Rachel
16. Daryl 36. Mary Francis 56. Tara
17. Loribeth 37. Becky 57. Cindy
18. lostintranslation 38. Surly Mama 58. Kasey
19. Heather 39. Climbing the Pomegranate Tree
20. Infertile Girl 40. Suzanna Catherine

October 13, 2014   38 Comments

Making Myself Happy

I had to be straight with the Wolvog: his Halloween costume was a pain in my ass.  He wanted to be the 10th Doctor, which seems as if it should be an easy costume, but suits are expensive.  Did he want to be the Tardis?  I could inexpensively turn him into the Tardis.  No, he did not want to be the Tardis, at least not as his first choice.  He suggested that he go as the 13th Doctor and wear whatever he wanted to wear.  Which was a sweet solution, but it sort of broke my heart.

I had made a promise to the universe when I was waiting for them that I would always furnish my children with kickass Halloween costumes.  I could not back down on that promise.  But that promise did come with a $20 cap.

He went to school feeling a little down about the whole thing, and I went to the local thrift shop to see if I could find something to turn into a pin-stripe suit.

I had never been in this particular thrift shop and didn’t have high hopes, except that I had received a somewhat anonymous email to go check the thrift shop.  Who doesn’t follow instructions that come in an anonymous email?

So I went into the childrens’ clothing room and there, hanging at the end of the row so it was the first thing I saw was a blue, pin-stripe suit jacket.  Massively too large but still, exactly what I needed.  I took it down and went to pay for it because… I was just so happy.  Did the anonymous townsperson put the jacket there for me?  Unlikely by the sound of the follow-up email.  Did he see it there and remember the plea I sent out to our town listserv?  Maybe?  Or perhaps it was just random luck.

It only got better because the jacket was $3.  THREE DOLLARS.  I splurged and bought the boy a Doctor-looking tie.

I went home on a retail high and pretty much shook with excitement all day until the Wolvog came home.  He made me take dozens of photos of him posing in his costume. (Though my mother is helping me to take the whole thing in about 8 sizes…)

Okay, that wasn’t a good example because I didn’t make myself happy.  The random townsperson made me happy.  The store made me happy.  And that is a crap shoot.

But I can’t stop talking about his $3.50 Halloween costume.  That has to be a record.

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When downloading the Serial podcast, I noticed there were a bunch of other podcasts on the “popular” list, and I chose to subscribe to the Nerdist podcast.  The only drawback is that they sort of come fast and furious if you are someone like me who has very little time to listen to podcasts.  It makes me a little anxious when I open the podcast app and see 14 podcasts awaiting listening.

But they’re really funny, and it is nice to have a disembodied voice telling you a story.  The one I just listened to was Spike Feresten.  He wrote for Seinfeld and Letterman and has great stories about being a comedy writer.  He also had a very moving story about having his show canceled and losing his father in the same time period, and it put the idea of disappointment (especially in the arts) in perspective.

It sort of felt like the podcast I needed to hear.  Sometimes we don’t get the podcast we want, we get the podcast we need.

So that is making me happy: the disembodied voices telling me funny stories.

What is making you happy this weekend?

And get your posts ready because tomorrow is another #MicroblogMonday.

October 12, 2014   16 Comments

515th Friday Blog Roundup

I lost a lot of weight about two years ago, which necessitated buying several new pairs of pants and jeans.  I was dumbfounded when I saw the size on the pants.  It was much lower than I had worn in the past.  And I’m going to admit this: I was between two sizes and I went with the smaller one ENTIRELY OUT OF VANITY FOR WHAT WAS WRITTEN ON THE TAG.

Yes, I needed to shout that because it is now two years later, and I have put back on some of the weight.  Just enough so that if I had bought the larger size, I would still be smoothly sailing through winter.  But I didn’t.  I went with the smaller size.  Because I was short-sighted and vain and waaaaaaaay too proud of myself.  Like stupidly proud.  As in forgetting that I always bounce back up a little bit to settle in this weight range.

So my pants are snug.

I dug back out MyFitnessPal… who is really MyFitnessFrenemy… and I am attempting to eat better so I don’t need to buy new pants.

I am considering getting a tattoo on my upper leg so I’ll see it every time I go clothes shopping which reads: buy the larger size.

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Ann from Tragic Optimist wrote a board book for kids, and I got to see it this week.  It’s called Glasses, and the book has its own site.  It’s exactly what you think: a very cute book for getting kids comfortable with their glasses. (Or, I’d argue, a good book for ALL kids to read, especially when they start noticing differences between kids.)  The rhyme is upbeat, the photographs colourful, and the glasses all cool. (Yes, these kids are cooler than you are.)  In getting a copy to read with your child (or for a family member or for your school, etc), you’re not only opening them up to being comfortable with their glasses or their friend’s glasses (not to mention opening up a discussion on any external device that helps a person get through their day such as a hearing aid or wheelchair), but you’re supporting a member of the ALI community.  Double plus.

Glasses wearers unite!

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Yes, this is your weekly reminder to back up your blog, social media accounts, and email.

Seriously.  Stop what you’re doing for a moment.  It will take you fifteen minutes, tops.  But you will have peace of mind for days and days.  It’s the gift to yourself that keeps on giving.

As always, add any new thoughts to the Friday Backup post and peruse new comments in order to find out about methods, plug-ins, and devices that help you quickly back up your data and accounts.

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And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Serenity in Chaos has a post about parallel universes playing host to our unmade choices.  I love her description of what it felt like to have her reality and her dreamworld merge inside her mind.  She writes: “I gasped within, because at that exact second, there was no difference between my reality and my parallel universe. There was no need for the parallel universe anymore. It was breathtakingly beautiful and surreal at the same time.” Isn’t that gorgeous?

Hope Floats Amongst the Cherry Blossoms has a post about the far-reaching effects of infertility; namely, the other people affected when you can’t have a child.  She writes about observing her father at the pool looking wistfully at some kids splashing around in the water.  She wonders aloud what will happen if she can’t give him a grandchild: “If I can’t give him one, will he ever get to be in that moment again… to experience the joy of a child that is part of your family, your inner circle and play?  Has the moment passed?  Has it passed for me?  And for him?”  I had a lump in my throat reading the post.

Earth & Ink has a post about why she continues to blog even though she cannot write about the largest thing happening in her life.  She explains: “In offline life, I’m in the middle of something I can’t write about. So I am chilled. Quieted. In multiple ways, silenced.  It is distressingly similar to being Ariel and having had someone has put my voice in a box. Although granted, a bit more subtle. And lots less fairy dust.”  I like this post because I could not only feel the weight of having something huge closing off your voice, but I could also sense the light at the end of her tunnel, ensuring she can speak again.

Lastly, in the microblog world, More Than a Mom has a very moving post about the presence of her mother being with her as she runs.  It was so quiet, so brief, that it almost felt like a sigh.  A sigh of a post.

The roundup to the Roundup: My pants are too small.  (Or I am too large.)  Glasses!  Your weekly backup nudge.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between October 3rd and 10th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

October 10, 2014   19 Comments

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